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    Where is my hand in space? The internal model of gravity influences proprioception

    Gallagher, M. and Kearney, B. and Ferrè, Elisa Raffaella (2021) Where is my hand in space? The internal model of gravity influences proprioception. Biology Letters 17 (6), p. 20210115. ISSN 1744-9561.

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    Knowing where our limbs are in space is crucial for a successful interaction with the external world. Joint position sense (JPS) relies on both cues from muscle spindles and joint mechanoreceptors, as well as the effort required to move. However, JPS may also rely on the perceived external force on the limb, such as the gravitational field. It is well known that the internal model of gravity plays a large role in perception and behaviour. Thus, we have explored whether direct vestibular-gravitational cues could influence JPS. Participants passively estimated the position of their hand while they were upright and therefore aligned with terrestrial gravity, or pitch-tilted 45° backwards from gravity. Overall participants overestimated the position of their hand in both upright and tilted postures; however, the proprioceptive bias was significantly reduced when participants were tilted. Our findings therefore suggest that the internal model of gravity may influence and update JPS in order to allow the organism to interact with the environment.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): vestibular system, proprioception, joint position sense, gravity
    School: School of Science > Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Elisa Raffaella Ferre
    Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2021 10:31
    Last Modified: 01 Oct 2021 06:48


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