Learning objectives: To experience how different senses affect balance.
Your sense of balance is influenced by several perceptual systems, namely vestibular (the position and movement of your head in relation to gravity), proprioceptive (the position of your limbs and the shape and tension of your muscles), vision (the orientation of your body in space), and haptic (the feel of the surface you are standing on). Today we are going to confuse your systems that make your sense of balance in order to gain an understanding of how each one works.
Your perceptual systems involved in balance can be manipulated to give you less information. You can close your eyes to block out vision. You can stand on an unstable surface to change your proprioception. Wearing shoes/socks will prevent you from directly feeling the surface you are standing on (not to mention that shoes add artificial stability to joints and muscles, proprioceptors). Turning your head from side to side repeatedly can confuse your vestibular system, making you think that you are spinning.
For this experiment you are going to test your balance. It might be helpful if you have a friend record data for you so you don’t have to go back and forth to your data sheet. You will stand on one foot to create the balance situation. You will make the following actions to manipulate each sense as it contributes to your sense of balance.
- Vision – you will close your eyes to block your vision. Open them to gain it back.
- Proprioception – you stand on a rolled-up towel, foam roll, or a cushion to change the stability of the surface you are standing on. Stand on a flat surface to have accurate proprioception.
- Haptic – you will stand with a shoe/sock on to block your ability to feel the surface you are standing on. Stand barefoot (no socks) on the surface to allow you to feel.
- Vestibular – you will turn your head from side to side 5 times to confuse your vestibular sense. Move your head purposefully. DO NOT just shake your head from side to side. Stand with your head facing forward to regain your vestibular sense.
Fill out the table by performing the above operations in combination with each other to meet the conditions specified in the table. In each box rate from 1 to 10 (1 = Extremely Easy, 10 = Extremely Difficult) on how difficult it is to keep your balance in that scenario.
|On Floor/Stable Head||On Unstable Surface/Stable Head|
|On Floor/Turning Head||On Unstable Surface/Turning Head|
- On this page explain the differences in difficulty in terms of what system(s) you had full use of in the above task. Make sure you talk about each system.
- Discusion Question – Perception
- Watch the two videos on the Links page under the section “Touch and Pain Senses Links” and “Links on Advanced Prosthetics for Discussion Question 2”
- What did you learn about your own sense of touch and movement that you didn’t know before watching the video?
- What are two technological advances talked about in the videos that you would never have known if you hadn’t watched them?
- Given that this technology is already two years old, where do you think this industry is headed?
- Have you ever seen a prosthetic arm like those talked about in the video?
- Journal 2 – Type your response on the Title of Journal assignment submission page to the following questions:
- After reviewing Video Lecture 6 on Pain, review at least 2 other sources on the Links page for Module 1 under each section: Phantom Limb Pain and Gate Control Theory.
How do these therapies work to relieve Phantom Limb Pain? What process is going on in the brain to cause the pain and what process is going on in the therapy to relieve the pain? How does this relate to Gate Control Theory?