Mental own-body and body-part transformations in microgravity

Grabherr, Luzia; Karmali, Faisal; Bach, Silvia; Indermaur, Kathrin; Metzler, Sibylle; Mast, Fred W. (2007). Mental own-body and body-part transformations in microgravity. Journal of vestibular research - equilibrium & orientation, 17(5-6), pp. 279-287. IOS Press

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The aim of this experiment was to investigate the influence of gravity on the cognitive ability to mentally transform images of bodies or body parts. A total of eight participants were tested in two separate parabolic flight missions. In the main experiment, participants had to make a discrimination judgement (left or right) about pictures of a human figure with one arm outstretched, and pictures of a body part (hand). The stimuli appeared in varying views and orientations. Response times and error rates were measured. In microgravity, the participants showed increased response times overall as well as increased error rates when compared to 1 g for both types of stimuli. Thus, a task that requires the mental transformation of one's own body or body parts becomes more difficult during microgravity. This is in contrast to previous studies showing no effect of microgravity on the mental rotation of abstract 3D objects and to our follow-up case study in which participants applied an object-based mental rotation strategy. Moreover, the analysis of response times suggests that in microgravity body-part stimuli are affected more strongly than body figures.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Cognitive Psychology, Perception and Methodology

UniBE Contributor:

Mast, Fred


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology




IOS Press




Jeannette Gatschet

Date Deposited:

03 Nov 2020 16:55

Last Modified:

03 Nov 2020 16:55

PubMed ID:





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