Walking enhances peripheral visual processing in humans.

08:00 EDT 11th October 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Walking enhances peripheral visual processing in humans."

Cognitive processes are almost exclusively investigated under highly controlled settings during which voluntary body movements are suppressed. However, recent animal work suggests differences in sensory processing between movement states by showing drastically changed neural responses in early visual areas between locomotion and stillness. Does locomotion also modulate visual cortical activity in humans, and what are the perceptual consequences? Our study shows that walking increases the contrast-dependent influence of peripheral visual input on central visual input. This increase is prevalent in stimulus-locked electroencephalogram (EEG) responses (steady-state visual evoked potential [SSVEP]) alongside perceptual performance. Ongoing alpha oscillations (approximately 10 Hz) further positively correlated with the walking-induced changes of SSVEP amplitude, indicating the involvement of an altered inhibitory process during walking. The results predicted that walking leads to an increased processing of peripheral visual input. A second study indeed showed an increased contrast sensitivity for peripheral compared to central stimuli when subjects were walking. Our work shows complementary neurophysiological and behavioural evidence corroborating animal findings that walking leads to a change in early visual neuronal activity in humans. That neuronal modulation due to walking is indeed linked to specific perceptual changes extends the existing animal work.


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: PLoS biology
ISSN: 1545-7885
Pages: e3000511


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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

An activity in which the body advances at a slow to moderate pace by moving the feet in a coordinated fashion. This includes recreational walking, walking for fitness, and competitive race-walking.

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Visual impairments limiting one or more of the basic functions of the eye: visual acuity, dark adaptation, color vision, or peripheral vision. These may result from EYE DISEASES; OPTIC NERVE DISEASES; VISUAL PATHWAY diseases; OCCIPITAL LOBE diseases; OCULAR MOTILITY DISORDERS; and other conditions. Visual disability refers to inability of the individual to perform specific visual tasks, such as reading, writing, orientation, or traveling unaided. (From Newell, Ophthalmology: Principles and Concepts, 7th ed, p132)

The rate at which steps are made while walking.

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