The timing of galvanic vestibular stimulation affects responses to platform translation

Frantisek Hlavacka, Charlotte L. Shupert, Fay B. Horak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations


We compared the effects of galvanic vestibular stimulation applied at 0, 0.5, 1.5 and 2.5 s prior to a backward platform translation on postural responses. The effect of the galvanic stimulation was largest on the final equilibrium position of the center of pressure (CoP). The largest effects occurred for the 0.5 and 0-s pre-period, when the dynamic CoP pressure changes in response to both the galvanic stimulus and the platform translation coincided. The shift in the final equilibrium position was also larger than the sum of the shifts for the galvanic stimulus and the platform translation alone for the 0.5 and 0-s pre-periods. The initial rate of change of the CoP response to the platform translation was not significantly affected in any condition. Changes in the peak CoP position could be accounted for by local interaction of CoP velocity changes induced by the galvanic and translation responses alone, but the changes in final equilibrium position could only be accounted for by a change in global body orientation. These findings suggest that the contribution of vestibulospinal information is greatest during the dynamic phase of the postural response, and that the vestibular system contributes most to the, later components of the postural response, particularly to the final equilibrium position. These findings suggest that a nonlinear interaction between the vestibular signal induced by the galvanic current and the sensory stimuli produced by the platform translation occurs when the two stimuli are presented within 1 s, during the dynamic phase of the postural response to the galvanic stimulus. When presented at greater separations in time, the stimuli appear to be treated as independent events, such that no interaction occurs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-16
Number of pages9
JournalBrain research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 6 1999



  • Galvanic stimulation
  • Human
  • Posture
  • Sensory interaction
  • Somatosensory
  • Vestibular

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology

Cite this