As we actively explore the environment, our motion relative to the world stimulates numerous sensory systems. Notably, proprioceptors provide feedback about body and limb position, while the vestibular system detects and encodes head motion. When the vestibular system is functioning normally, we are unaware of a distinct sensation because vestibular information is integrated with proprioceptive and other sensory inputs to generate our sense of motion. However, patients with vestibular sensory loss experience impairments that provide important insights into the function of this essential sensory system. For these patients, everyday activities such as walking become difficult because even small head movements can produce postural and perceptual instability. This review describes recent research demonstrating how the proprioceptive and vestibular systems effectively work together to provide us with our “6th sense” during everyday activities, and in particular considers the neural computations underlying the brain's predictive sensing of head movement during voluntary self-motion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)