Influence of magnetic vestibular stimulation on self-motion perception

Wyssen, Gerda; Morrison, Miranda; Korda, Athanasia; Zee, David S.; Mantokoudis, Georgios; Mast, Fred W. (10 May 2022). Influence of magnetic vestibular stimulation on self-motion perception. Journal of vestibular research, 32(s1), S150-S153. IOS Press

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Ultrahigh magnetic fields (UHF) induce dizziness, vertigo and nystagmus due to Lorentz forces acting on the cupula in the semi-circular canals, an effect called magnetic vestibular stimulation (MVS) (Roberts et al., 2011; Ward et al., 2015). As the effect of the magnetic field on the cupula remains constant throughout the exposure, MVS is specifically suitable for studying cognitive performance under vestibular stimulation. The effect of MVS can be set near to zero by tilting the head 30° forward towards the body, allowing to compare different strengths of MVS within subjects (Mian et al., 2016). Furthermore, MVS serves as a suitable non-invasive model for unilateral failure of the vestibular system, which enables studying compensatory processes (Ertl and Boegle, 2019). We conducted our study in a Siemens Terra 7 Tesla Scanner and tested 8 young, healthy participants and plan to include 30 more.

The study had two main goals. First, to investigate the process of perception-reflex uncoupling, as under MVS self-motion perception differs from measured nystagmus in direction as well as time course. While horizontal nystagmus was predominant, most participants report a percept of roll rotation, and less frequent a percept of yaw rotation or a mixture of both when moving in to and out of the magnetic field. This matches previous studies (Mian et al., 2013). Reported percepts did not correspond fully to measured reflexive eye-movements. Overall, stronger nystagmus indicated stronger percepts. Roll percepts make sense because the brain integrates the prior knowledge and sensory evidence. In supine position, yaw but not roll rotation would also elicit change in direction of gravity. Second, to quantify influence of continuous vestibular stimulation on cognitive functions with spatial components. Behavioral and neuroimaging studies have shown repeatedly that caloric, galvanic and motion platform-induced vestibular stimulation can affect performance in spatial tasks, such as mental rotation (Klaus et al., 2019; Falconer & Mast, 2012). The influence of MVS on spatial cognition is relevant for fMRI studies as MVS can be a confounder, especially in studies using UHFs. In our study, we did not find a meaningful effect of MVS on mental body rotation performance, neither in allocentric nor in egocentric strategy.

In the future, we aim to compare healthy participants and patients with vestibular disorders to investigate adaption and habituation mechanisms.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Abstract)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders (ENT)
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Cognitive Psychology, Perception and Methodology

UniBE Contributor:

Wyssen, Gerda Cornelia, Morrison, Miranda Claire, Korda, Athanasia, Mantokoudis, Georgios, Mast, Fred


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




IOS Press




Gerda Cornelia Wyssen

Date Deposited:

13 Feb 2023 07:42

Last Modified:

13 Feb 2023 23:27

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