Healthy human subjects can maintain adequate balance despite distorted somatosensory or visual feedback or vestibular feedback distorted by a peripheral vestibular disorder. Although it is not precisely known how this sensorimotor integration task is achieved, the nervous system coordinates information from multiple sensory systems to produce motor commands differently in different sensory environments. These different ways of coordinating sensory information and motor commands can be thought of as "sensorimotor states". The way the nervous system distributes the monitoring of postural sway among states is analysed in this paper as a logical structure of transitions between states. The form of the transition structure is specified and distinguished from a finite state machine. The hypothesis that the nervous system could use a transition structure to maintain balance is tested by developing transition structures which are consistent with a set of experimental observations of postural control in healthy subjects and three groups of patients with peripheral vestibular disease.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/gin_mccollum/19/