Effect of slow, small movement on the vibration-evoked kinesthetic illusion

P. J. Cordo, V. S. Gurfinkel, S. Brumagne, C. Flores-Vieira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The study reported in this paper investigated how vibration-evoked illusions of joint rotation are influenced by slow (0.3°/s), small (2-4°) passive rotation of the joint. Normal human adults (n=15) matched the perceived position of the left ("reference") arm with the right ("matching") arm while vibration (50 pps, 0.5 mm) was applied for 30 s to the relaxed triceps brachii of the reference arm. Both arms were constrained to rotate horizontally at the elbow. Three experimental conditions were investigated: (1) vibration of the stationary reference arm, (2) slow, small passive extension or flexion of the reference arm during vibration, and (3) slow, small passive extension or flexion of the reference arm without vibration. Triceps brachii vibration at 50 pps induced an illusion of elbow flexion. The movement illusion began after several seconds, relatively fast to begin with and gradually slowing down to a stop. On average, triceps vibration produced illusory motion at an average latency of 6.3 s, amplitude of 9.7°, velocity of 0.6°/s, and duration of 16.4 s. During vibration, slow, small (≈0.3°/s, 1.3°) passive rotations of the joint dramatically enhanced, stopped, or reversed the direction of illusory movement, depending on the direction of the passive joint rotation. However, the subjects' perceptions of these passive elbow rotations were exaggerated: 2-3 times the size of the actual movement. In the absence of vibration, the subjects accurately reproduced these passive joint rotations. We discuss whether the exaggerated perception of slow, small movement during vibration is better explained by contributions of non muscle spindle Ia afferents or by changes in the mechanical transmission of vibration to the receptor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)324-334
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Illusion
  • Kinaesthesia
  • Muscle spindles
  • Slow movement
  • Vibration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of slow, small movement on the vibration-evoked kinesthetic illusion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this