The vestibular system modulates the contributions of head and torso to egocentric spatial judgements

Elisa R. Ferrè*, Adrian J.T. Alsmith, Patrick Haggard, Matthew R. Longo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Egocentric representations allow us to describe the external world as experienced from an individual’s bodily location. We recently developed a novel method of quantifying the weight given to different body parts in egocentric judgments (the Misalignment Paradigm). We found that both head and torso contribute to simple alter-egocentric spatial judgments. We hypothesised that artificial stimulation of the vestibular system would provide a head-related signal, which might affect the weighting given to the head in egocentric spatial judgments. Bipolar Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation (GVS) was applied during the Misalignment Paradigm. A Sham stimulation condition was also included to control for non-specific effects. Our data show that the weight given to the head was increased during left anodal and right cathodal GVS, compared to the opposite GVS polarity (right anodal and left cathodal GVS) and Sham stimulation. That is, the polarity of GVS, which preferentially activates vestibular areas in the right cerebral hemisphere, influenced the relative weightings of head and torso in egocentric spatial judgments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2295-2302
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • Egocentric representation
  • Galvanic vestibular stimulation
  • Misalignment paradigm
  • Multisensory integration
  • Vestibular system


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