Perceived timing of active head movement at different speeds

Neurosci Lett. 2018 Nov 20;687:253-258. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2018.09.065. Epub 2018 Oct 2.


The central nervous system must determine which sensory events occur at the same time. Actively moving the head corresponds with large changes in the relationship between the observer and the environment, sensorimotor processing, and spatiotemporal perception. Active head movement perception has been shown to be dependent on head movement velocity where participants who move their head fastest require the head to move earlier than comparison stimuli for perceived simultaneity more so than those who move their head slower. Such between-subject results cannot address whether active head movement perception changes with velocity. The present study used a within-subjects design to measure the point of subjective simultaneity (PSS) between active head movement speeds and a comparison sound stimulus to characterize the relationship between the velocity and perception of head movement onset. Our results clearly show that i) head movement perception is faster with faster head movements within-subjects, ii) active head movement onset must still precede the onset of other sensory events (average PSS: -123 ms to -52 ms; median PSS: -42 ms to -100 ms) in order to be perceived as occurring simultaneously even at the fastest speeds (average peak velocity: 76°/s-257°/s; median peak velocity 72 ms-257 ms). We conclude that head movement perception is slow, but that this delay is minimized with increased speed. These within-subject results are contrary to previous and present study between-subject results and are in agreement with literature where perception of auditory, visual and vestibular stimulus onset is less delayed with increased stimulus intensity.

Keywords: Auditory; Head movement; Multisensory; Stimulus intensity; Time perception; Vestibular.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods
  • Adult
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Female
  • Head Movements / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Movement / physiology
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Time Perception / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology*
  • Young Adult