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Influence of Gravity on Speed Perception Characteristics of Human
Author(s): 
Pages: 408-412
Year: Issue:  6
Journal: Space Medicine & Medical Engineering

Keyword:  speed perceptionparabolic flightshead down bed resttime to contact(TTC) paradigm;
Abstract: Objective To investigate the influence of gravity on the speed perception characteristics of human.Methods By adopting the time to contact( TTC) paradigm,a software running on a notebook for testing humans’ speed perception characteristics was developed. Then the following two ways were used to create the normal gravity( 1 G) and weightlessness / simulated weightlessness. TTC tests were performed among participants under the two gravity conditions: 1) In the parabolic flight campaign,6 participants took the TTC tests in1 G periods and 0 G periods; 2) On ground studies,weightlessness was simulated by head-down-bed-rest( HDBR). Results The results showed: 1) Compared to the 1 G condition,participants showed significant higher deviation rate in speed estimation under the 0 G condition in the parabolic flights; however,the deviation rate was not significantly different between the upright position and the head-down-tilt position on the ground. 2) No matter on the plane or on the ground,under the 1 G condition,the participants’ perception of horizontal movement was more accurate than the perception of vertical movement; while in the weightlessness /simulated weightlessness condition,no significant difference was found between participants’ perception of horizontal movement and vertical movement. Conclusion Gravity has an impact on human perception of speed in the sense of TTC judgment: the accuracy of humans’ speed perception and the perceptual characteristics of movement in different directions may change as gravity condition changes. The head-down-tilt condition on the ground and the 0 G condition in parabolic flights may cause different effects on humans’ speed perception.
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