Many of us seek the excitement of being on a roller-coaster which makes us experience curvy ups and downs and high changes in speed. While we see the world flying by around us, feel the airstream on our skin and hear the screams of the people enjoying the thrill of speed, the vestibular sense tells us where up and down is and in which direction we are moving. However, most of us spare little thought about our sense of balance, although it is essential for our everyday activities. Only when it fails, for example due to diseases or alcohol, do we become aware of its existence. Can we still access information coming from the vestibular sense? Or is this sense – in contrast to external senses such as vision or touch – "hidden" to conscious access?
This question falls into the realm of metacognition, which subsumes phenomena in which we self-referentially monitor our own mental states. While research has already investigated metacognition in other sensory domains such as vision and touch, we now work on the question whether we can metacognitively keep track of our "hidden" vestibular perception. In a series of psychophysical experiments, we compare the accuracy of visual and vestibular perception in a passive self-motion task and evaluate how well participants can introspectively assess their performance and how much trust they put in their vestibular sense.
- Isabelle Garzorz
- Prof. Dr. Ophelia Deroy
- Alexander Knorr
- Prof. Dr. Stefan Glasauer
- DFG MA 6233/1-1
- German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (grant code 01 EO 0901)