Sensory reweighting dynamics in human postural control

Lorenz Assländer, Robert J. Peterka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


Healthy humans control balance during stance by using an active feedback mechanism that generates corrective torque based on a combination of movement and orientation cues from visual, vestibular, and proprioceptive systems. Previous studies found that the contribution of each of these sensory systems changes depending on perturbations applied during stance and on environmental conditions. The process of adjusting the sensory contributions to balance control is referred to as sensory reweighting. To investigate the dynamics of reweighting for the sensory modalities of vision and proprioception, 14 healthy young subjects were exposed to six different combinations of continuous visual scene and platform tilt stimuli while sway responses were recorded. Stimuli consisted of two components: 1) a pseudorandom component whose amplitude periodically switched between low and high amplitudes and 2) a low-amplitude sinusoidal component whose amplitude remained constant throughout a trial. These two stimuli were mathematically independent of one another and, thus, permitted separate analyses of sway responses to the two components. For all six stimulus combinations, the sway responses to the constant-amplitude sine were influenced by the changing amplitude of the pseudorandom component in a manner consistent with sensory reweighting. Results show clear evidence of intra- and intermodality reweighting. Reweighting dynamics were asymmetric, with slower reweighting dynamics following a high-to-low transition in the pseudorandom stimulus amplitude compared with low-to-high amplitude shifts, and were also slower for inter- compared with intramodality reweighting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1852-1864
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2014


  • Balance
  • Humans
  • Posture control
  • Reweighting
  • Sensory integration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology


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