Perceived upright depends on three main factors: vision, graviception, and the internal representation of the long axis of the body. We assessed the relative contributions of these factors in individuals with sub-acute and chronic stroke and controls using a novel tool; the Oriented Character Recognition Test (OCHART). We also considered whether individuals who displayed active pushing or had a history of pushing behaviours had different weightings than those with no signs of pushing.
Three participants experienced a stroke <3 months before the experiment: one with active pushing. In total, 14 participants experienced a stroke >6 months prior: eight with a history of pushing. In total, 12 participants served as healthy aged-matched controls. Visual and graviceptive cues were dissociated by orienting the visual background left, right, or upright relative to the body, or by orienting the body left, right, or upright relative to gravity. A three-vector model was used to quantify the weightings of vision, graviception, and the body to the perceptual upright.
The control group showed weightings of 13% vision, 25% graviception, and 62% body. Some individuals with stroke showed a similar pattern; others, particularly those with recent stroke, showed different patterns, for example, being unaffected by one of the three factors. The participant with active pushing behaviour displayed an ipsilesional perceptual bias (>30°) and was not affected by visual cues to upright.
The results of OCHART may be used to quantify the weightings of multisensory inputs in individuals post-stroke and may help characterize perceptual sources of pushing behaviours.