Self-motion information is required to keep track of where we are with respect to our environment (spatial updating). Visual signals such as optic flow are relevant to provide information about self-motion, especially in the absence of vestibular and/or proprioceptive cues generated by physical movement. However, the role of optic flow on spatial updating is still debated. A virtual reality system based on a head-mounted display was used to allow participants to experience a self-motion sensation within a naturalistic environment in the absence of physical movement. We asked participants to keep track of spatial positions of a target during simulated self-motion while manipulating the availability of optic flow coming from the lower part of the environment (ground plane). In each trial, the ground could be a green lawn (optic flow ON) or covered in snow (optic flow OFF). We observed that the lack of optic flow on the ground had a detrimental effect on spatial updating. Furthermore, we explored the interaction between the optic flow availability and different characteristics of self-motion: we observed that increasing self-motion speed had a detrimental effect on spatial updating, especially in the absence of optic flow, while self-motion direction (leftward, forward, rightward) and path (translational and curvilinear) had no statically significant effect. Overall, we demonstrated that, in the absence of some idiothetic cues, the optic flow provided by the ground has a dominant role for the self-motion estimation and, hence, for the ability to update the spatial relationships between one's position and the position of the surrounding objects.

Effect of optic flow on spatial updating: insight from an immersive virtual reality study

Sulpizio V.
2023-01-01

Abstract

Self-motion information is required to keep track of where we are with respect to our environment (spatial updating). Visual signals such as optic flow are relevant to provide information about self-motion, especially in the absence of vestibular and/or proprioceptive cues generated by physical movement. However, the role of optic flow on spatial updating is still debated. A virtual reality system based on a head-mounted display was used to allow participants to experience a self-motion sensation within a naturalistic environment in the absence of physical movement. We asked participants to keep track of spatial positions of a target during simulated self-motion while manipulating the availability of optic flow coming from the lower part of the environment (ground plane). In each trial, the ground could be a green lawn (optic flow ON) or covered in snow (optic flow OFF). We observed that the lack of optic flow on the ground had a detrimental effect on spatial updating. Furthermore, we explored the interaction between the optic flow availability and different characteristics of self-motion: we observed that increasing self-motion speed had a detrimental effect on spatial updating, especially in the absence of optic flow, while self-motion direction (leftward, forward, rightward) and path (translational and curvilinear) had no statically significant effect. Overall, we demonstrated that, in the absence of some idiothetic cues, the optic flow provided by the ground has a dominant role for the self-motion estimation and, hence, for the ability to update the spatial relationships between one's position and the position of the surrounding objects.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11695/128021
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