The influence of horizontally rotating sound on standing balance


Authors: Gandemer L., Parseihian G., Kronland-Martinet R., Bourdin C.
Publication Date: December 2014
Journal: Experimental Brain Research (vol. 232(12), pp. 3813-3820, 2014)



Postural control is known to be the result of the integration and processing of various sensory inputs by the central nervous system. Among the various afferent inputs, the role of auditory information in postural regulation has been addressed in relatively few studies, which led to conflicting results. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the influence of a rotating auditory stimulus, delivered by an immersive 3D sound spatialization system, on the standing posture of young subjects. The postural sway of 20 upright, blindfolded subjects was recorded using a force platform. Use of various sound source rotation velocities followed by sudden immobilization of the sound was compared with two control conditions: no sound and a stationary sound source. The experiment showed that subjects reduced their body sway amplitude and velocity in the presence of rotating sound compared with the control conditions. The faster the sound source was rotating, the greater the reduction in subject body sway.Moreover, disruption of subject postural regulation was observed as soon as the sound source was immobilized. These results suggest that auditory information cannot be neglected in postural control, and that it acts as additional information influencing postural regulation.