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Young and Older Adults Differ in Integration of Sensory Cues for Vertical Perception.

Abdul Razzak, R., Bagust, J. and Docherty, S., 2020. Young and Older Adults Differ in Integration of Sensory Cues for Vertical Perception. Journal of Aging Research, 2020, 8284504.

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Journal of Aging Research 2020.pdf - Published Version
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DOI: 10.1155/2020/8284504


Introduction: The subjective visual vertical (SVV) measures the perception of a person's spatial orientation relative to gravity. Weighted central integration of vestibular, visual, and proprioceptive inputs is essential for SVV perception. Without any visual references and minimal proprioceptive contribution, the static SVV reflects balance of the otolith organs. Normal aging is associated with bilateral and progressive decline in otolith organ function, but age-dependent effects on SVV are inconclusive. Studies on sensory reweighting for visual vertical and multisensory integration strategies reveal age-dependent differences, but most studies have included elderly participants in comparison to younger adults. The aim of this study was to compare young adults with older adults, an age group younger than the elderly. Methods: Thirty-three young and 28 older adults (50-65 years old) adjusted a tilted line accurately to their perceived vertical. The rod's final position from true vertical was recorded as tilt error in degrees. For otolithic balance, visual vertical was recorded in the dark without any visual references. The rod and frame task (RFT) with tilted disorienting visual frames was used for creating visuovestibular conflict. We adopted Nyborg's analysis method to derive the rod and frame effect (RFE) and trial-to-trial variability measures. Rod alignment times were also analyzed. Results: There was no age difference in signed tilts of SVV without visual reference. There was an age effect on RFE and on overall trial-to-trial variability of rod tilt, with older adults displaying larger frame effects and greater variability in rod tilts. Alignment times were longer in the tilted-frame conditions for both groups and in the older adults compared to their younger counterparts. The association between tilt accuracy and tilt precision was significant for older adults only during visuovestibular conflict, revealing an increase in RFE with an increase in tilt variability. Correlation of σSVV, which represents vestibular input precision, with RFE yielded exactly the same contribution of σSVV to the variance in RFE for both age groups. Conclusions: Older adults have balanced otolithic input in an upright position. Increased reliance on visual cues may begin at ages younger than what is considered elderly. Increased alignment times for older adults may create a broader time window for integration of relevant and irrelevant sensory information, thus enhancing their multisensory integration. In parallel with the elderly, older adults may differ from young adults in their integration of sensory cues for visual vertical perception.

Item Type:Article
Group:Faculty of Health & Social Sciences
ID Code:34478
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:01 Sep 2020 13:03
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:23


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