Changes in perception of active but not passive turning following stepping on the rotating treadmill

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Abstract

The purpose of this work was to determine whether walking on a rotating disc would cause changes in perception of active and passive turning. Ten healthy control subjects wore a blindfold and earplugs while completing trials of active and passive turning. For active conditions, subjects were told the direction and amplitude of the desired turn and then attempted to turn in place the specified amount via actively stepping. For passive conditions, subjects were told that the disc they stood on would turn and they were to press a button when they had traveled the specified amplitude. Subjects completed active and passive trials to the left and right with amplitudes of 90, 180, 270, and 360°. Subjects then stepped in place for 15 min on a disc rotating clockwise at 90°/s, after which they repeated the trials of active and passive turning. Following rotating treadmill stimulation, subjects asked to turn in the direction opposite disc rotation (i.e., to the left) consistently and significantly overshot their targets in active trials. There were no changes in accuracy of active turning to the right or passive turning in either direction. This indicates that adaptation to the rotating treadmill is expressed even when subjects have a conscious intent to turn. The positive after-effects of the rotating treadmill add to the intended active turning in the direction of the after-effect but there is no decrement in active turning in the direction opposite the after-effect.

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