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Comparing vestibulo-ocular eye movement characteristics with coaches' rankings of spatial orientation aptitudes in gymnasts

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Beykirch,  KA
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Campos,  JL
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

von Lassberg, C., Beykirch, K., & Campos, J. (2015). Comparing vestibulo-ocular eye movement characteristics with coaches' rankings of spatial orientation aptitudes in gymnasts. In T. Heinen (Ed.), Advances in visual perception research (pp. 61-81). New York, NY, USA: Nova Biomedical.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002A-47BF-8
Abstract
Visual orientation during head- and self-motion without retinal image slips requires efficient gaze stabilizing oculomotor functions that support unblurred retinal function. These mechanisms are driven by different sensor systems, such as vestibular afferents (vestibulo-ocular reflex - VOR) or retinal afferents (optokinetic reflex - OKR) to generate reflexive eye movements that continuously compensate for 3-dimensional head motions in space. High-level athletes trained in sports that involve fast and complex rotational movements (i.e., gymnasts) have a highly developed capability of efficiently orienting while executing such complex movements. This spatial orientation ability can, to a certain extend be learned. However, one's intrinsic aptitude for easily coping with such multiaxial orientation challenges seems to be specific to each individual. It is not clear which role the individual level of VOR precision plays within the possible factors that determine such individual aptitudes. The aim of the present study is to examine to what extend the individual level of VOR correlates with individual aptitude to cope with multiaxial spatial orientation challenges as required in gymnastics. For this we used a method to evaluate the individual aptitude for multiaxial spatial orientation during actively performed maneuvers in competitive gymnasts by exploiting the accumulated expertise of coaches. We directly compared these expert-rating measures to individual VOR characteristics. The results indicate relationships between these ratings and the response of the vertical VOR in gymnasts.