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Michael Barnett-Cowan, Heather L. Jenkin, Richard T. Dyde, Michael R. Jenkin, Laurence R. Harris; Asymmetrical representation of body orientation. Journal of Vision 2013;13(2):3. doi: 10.1167/13.2.3.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The perceived orientation of objects, gravity, and the body are biased to the left. Whether this leftward bias is attributable to biases in sensing or processing vestibular, visual, and body sense cues has never been assessed directly. The orientation in which characters are most easily recognized—the perceived upright (PU)—can be well predicted from a weighted vector sum of these sensory cues. A simple form of this model assumes that the directions of the contributing inputs are coded accurately and as a consequence participants tilted left- or right-side-down relative to gravity should exhibit mirror symmetric patterns of responses. If a left/right asymmetry were present then varying these sensory cues could be used to assess in which sensory modality or modalities a PU bias may have arisen. Participants completed the Oriented Character Recognition Test (OCHART) while manipulating body posture and visual orientation cues relative to gravity. The response patterns showed systematic differences depending on which side they were tilted. An asymmetry of the PU was found to be best modeled by adding a leftward bias of 5.6° to the perceived orientation of the body relative to its actual orientation relative to the head. The asymmetry in the effect of body orientation is reminiscent of the body-defined left-leaning asymmetry in the perceived direction of light coming from above and reports that people tend to adopt a right-leaning posture.
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