Podokinetic after-rotation (PKAR) is a phenomenon in which subjects inadvertently rotate when instructed to step in place after a period of walking on a rotating treadmill. PKAR has been shown to transfer between different forms of locomotion, but has not been tested in a non-locomotor task. We conducted two experiments to assess effects of PKAR on perception of subjective straight ahead and on quiet standing posture. Twenty-one healthy young right-handed subjects pointed to what they perceived as their subjective straight ahead with a laser pointer while they were recorded by a motion capture system both before and after a training period on the rotating treadmill. Subjects performed the pointing task while standing, sitting on a chair without a back, and a chair with a back. After the training period, subjects demonstrated a significant shift in subjective straight ahead, pointing an average of 29.1 ± 10.6° off of center. The effect was direction-specific, depending on whether subjects had trained in the clockwise or counter-clockwise direction. Postures that limited subjects' ability to rotate the body in space resulted in reduction, but not elimination, of the effect. The effect was present in quiet standing and even in sitting postures where locomotion was not possible. The robust transfer of PKAR to non-locomotor tasks, and across locomotor forms as demonstrated previously, is in contrast to split-belt adaptations that show limited transfer. We propose that, unlike split-belt adaptations, podokinetic adaptations are mediated at supraspinal, spatial orientation areas that influences spinal-level circuits for locomotion.
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