Sensory reweighting of proprioceptive information of the left and right leg during human balance control

Jantsje Pasma, J.H. Pasma, Tjitske Boonstra, S.F. Campfens, Alfred Christiaan Schouten, Herman van der Kooij

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37 Citations (Scopus)


To keep balance, information from different sensory systems is integrated to generate corrective torques. Current literature suggests that this information is combined according to the sensory reweighting hypothesis, i.e., more reliable information is weighted more strongly than less reliable information. In this approach, no distinction has been made between the contributions of both legs. In this study, we investigated how proprioceptive information from both legs is combined to maintain upright stance. Healthy subjects maintained balance with eyes closed while proprioceptive information of each leg was perturbed independently by continuous rotations of the support surfaces (SS) and the human body by platform translation. Two conditions were tested: perturbation amplitude of one SS was increased over trials while the other SS 1) did not move or 2) was perturbed with constant amplitude. With the use of system identification techniques, the response of the ankle torques to the perturbation amplitudes (i.e., the torque sensitivity functions) was determined and how much each leg contributed to stabilize stance (i.e., stabilizing mechanisms) was estimated. Increased amplitude of one SS resulted in a decreased torque sensitivity. The torque sensitivity to the constant perturbed SS showed no significant differences. The properties of the stabilizing mechanisms remained constant during perturbations of each SS. This study demonstrates that proprioceptive information from each leg is weighted independently and that the weight decreases with perturbation amplitude. Weighting of proprioceptive information of one leg has no influence on the weight of the proprioceptive information of the other leg. According to the sensory reweighting hypothesis, vestibular information must be up-weighted, because closing the eyes eliminates visual information.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1138-1148
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • METIS-292629
  • IR-84961


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