Illusory Motion of the Motion Aftereffect Induces Postural Sway

Vivian Holten*, Maarten J. van der Smagt, Stella F. Donker, Frans A J Verstraten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


It remains an open question, however, whether this perception-action cycle is the result of direct visual stimulation only, or whether postural adjustments also occur when the motion of the visual stimulus is illusory. Here, we show that the latter is the case. Prolonged viewing of visual motion results in neural adaptation, and subsequent viewing of a stationary stimulus normally results in illusory motion in the opposite direction, a famous phenomenon known as the motion aftereffect (MAE; Anstis, Verstraten, & Mather, 1998). Surprisingly, this sequence of stimulation also causes postural sway in the direction consistent with the perceived illusory motion. Control test patterns that do not generate an MAE after identical adaptation do not induce sway. This suggests that the visuo-vestibular interactions that govern postural control are not influenced by visual stimulation per se, but can be modulated by an illusory motion signal (e.g., the internal neural signal responsible for the MAE).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1831-1834
Number of pages4
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014


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