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Krewer, Carmen; John, Lea; Bergmann, Jeannine; Bardins, Stanislav and Jahn, Klaus (2021): Comparison of two methods based on one psychophysical paradigm to measure the subjective postural vertical in standing. In: Neuroscience Letters, Vol. 742, 135541

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The perception of verticality can be altered with age or due to neurological diseases. Different procedures have been described to measure the subjective postural vertical (SPV). A deviation from the earth vertical was either described as a single position or as a sector defined by two positions representing the edges of the perceived verticality. In this study, for the first time, we investigated if these two methods produce equal values, and consequently can be merged to set normative values. SPV in standing was tested in 24 healthy young adults (28.4 (5.2) years of age, 12 women). Each participant performed both methods in the sagittal and the frontal plane. Absolute and constant error values were found to be similar for both methods in both planes with a mean difference of less than 0.3 degrees (p > 0.148). The mean width of the SPV sector was 3.9 degrees (0.9 degrees) in the sagittal and 3.7 degrees (1.4 degrees) in the frontal plane, ranging in the mean from -5.5 degrees to 8.1 degrees in the sagittal and -5.3 degrees to 4.3 degrees in the frontal plane. SPV values significantly differed in range between both methods in both planes with a mean difference of more than 3.1 degrees (p<0.002). Results show that both methods, SPVposition and SPVsector, produce equal error values when applied with otherwise similar methodological settings and can therefore be used alternatively or within the same meta-analysis. The SPVsector, however, led to wider range values and was less frequently rated as the preferred method to represent the participants' subjective verticality.

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