The control of upper body (UB) orientation relative to the pelvis in the frontal plane was characterized by analyzing responses to external perturbations consisting of continuous pelvis tilts (eyes open [EO] and eyes closed [EC]) and visual surround tilts (EO) at various amplitudes. Lateral sway of the lower body was prevented on all tests. UB sway was analyzed by calculating impulse-response functions (IRFs) and frequency-response functions (FRFs) from 0.023 to 10.3 Hz for pelvis tilt tests and FRFs from 0.041 to 1.5 Hz for visual tests. For pelvis tilt tests, differences between FRFs were limited to frequencies <3 Hz and were dependent on stimulus amplitude. IRFs were nearly identical across all pelvis tilt tests for the first 0.2 s, but showed amplitudedependent changes in their time course at longer time lags. The availability of visual orientation cues (EO vs. EC) had only a small effect on the UB sway during pelvis tilt tests. This small effect of vision was consistent with the small UB sway evoked on visual tilt tests. Experimental results were interpreted using a feedback model of UB orientation control that included time-delayed sensory integration, short-latency reflexive mechanisms, and intrinsic biomechanical properties of the UB. Variation in model parameters indicated that subjects shifted toward reliance on vestibular information and away from proprioceptive information as pelvis tilt amplitudes increased. For visual tilt stimuli, model parameters indicated that subjects shifted toward reliance on vestibular and proprioceptive information and away from visual information as the stimulus amplitude increased.
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