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A Vestibular Sensation: Probabilistic Approaches to Spatial Perception
 

Summary: Neuron
Review
A Vestibular Sensation:
Probabilistic Approaches to Spatial Perception
Dora E. Angelaki,1,* Eliana M. Klier,1 and Lawrence H. Snyder1
1Department of Neurobiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA
*Correspondence: angelaki@wustl.edu
DOI 10.1016/j.neuron.2009.11.010
The vestibular system helps maintain equilibrium and clear vision through reflexes, but it also contributes to
spatial perception. In recent years, research in the vestibular field has expanded to higher-level processing
involving the cortex. Vestibular contributions to spatial cognition have been difficult to study because the
circuits involved are inherently multisensory. Computational methods and the application of Bayes theorem
are used to form hypotheses about how information from different sensory modalities is combined together
with expectations based on past experience in order to obtain optimal estimates of cognitive variables like
current spatial orientation. To test these hypotheses, neuronal populations are being recorded during active
tasks in which subjects make decisions based on vestibular and visual or somatosensory information. This
review highlights what is currently known about the role of vestibular information in these processes, the
computations necessary to obtain the appropriate signals, and the benefits that have emerged thus far.
Introduction
Aristotle's five senses provide us with a conscious awareness of

  

Source: Angelaki, Dora - Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Washington University in St. Louis
Snyder, Larry - Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Washington University in St. Louis

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine