Processing time of addition or withdrawal of single or combined balancestabilizing haptic and visual information

Jean Louis Honeine, Oscar Crisafulli, Stefania Sozzi, Marco Schieppati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigated the integration time of haptic and visual input and their interaction during stance stabilization. Eleven subjects performed four tandem-stance conditions (60 trials each). Vision, touch, and both vision and touch were added and withdrawn. Furthermore, vision was replaced with touch and vice versa. Body sway, tibialis anterior, and peroneus longus activity were measured. Following addition or withdrawal of vision or touch, an integration time period elapsed before the earliest changes in sway were observed. Thereafter, sway varied exponentially to a new steady-state while reweighting occurred. Latencies of sway changes on sensory addition ranged from 0.6 to 1.5 s across subjects, consistently longer for touch than vision, and were regularly preceded by changes in muscle activity. Addition of vision and touch simultaneously shortened the latencies with respect to vision or touch separately, suggesting cooperation between sensory modalities. Latencies following withdrawal of vision or touch or both simultaneously were shorter than following addition. When vision was replaced with touch or vice versa, adding one modality did not interfere with the effect of withdrawal of the other, suggesting that integration of withdrawal and addition were performed in parallel. The time course of the reweighting process to reach the new steadystate was also shorter on withdrawal than addition. The effects of different sensory inputs on posture stabilization illustrate the operation of a time-consuming, possibly supraspinal process that integrates and fuses modalities for accurate balance control. This study also shows the facilitatory interaction of visual and haptic inputs in integration and reweighting of stance-stabilizing inputs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3097-3110
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Haptic
  • Sensory integration
  • Sensory reweighting
  • Standing
  • Vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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