Exp Brain Res. 2023 Mar 4. doi: 10.1007/s00221-023-06570-4. Online ahead of print.
This effort seeks to further assess human perception of self-motion by quantifying and comparing earth-vertical rotational vestibular perceptual thresholds about the yaw, roll, and pitch axes. Early seminal works (Benson Aviat Space Environ Med 60:205-213, 1989) quantified thresholds for yaw, roll, and pitch rotations, using single-cycle sinusoids in angular acceleration with a frequency of 0.3 Hz (3.33 s motion duration) and found yaw thresholds to be significantly lower than roll and pitch thresholds (1.58-1.20 deg/s vs. 2.07 deg/s and 2.04 deg/s, respectively). Our current effort uses modern methods and definitions to reassess if rotational thresholds differ between these three axes of rotation in ten human subjects at 0.3 Hz and additionally across a range of frequencies: 0.1 Hz, 0.3 Hz, and 0.5 Hz. In contrast to the established findings of Benson et al., no statistically significant differences were found between the three rotational axes at 0.3 Hz. Further, no statistically significant differences were found at any of these frequencies. Instead, a consistent pattern was found for yaw, pitch, and roll of increasing thresholds with decreasing rotational frequency, consistent with the brain employing high-pass filter mechanisms for decision-making. We also fill a gap in the literature by extending the quantification of pitch rotation thresholds to 0.1 Hz. Finally, we assessed inter-individual trends between these three frequencies and across all three axes of rotation. In thoroughly considering methodological and other differences between the current and previous studies, we conclude yaw rotation thresholds do not differ from those in roll or pitch.