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Title: Psychological and psychophysical aspects of spatial orientation
Author: Grunfeld, Elizabeth Alice
ISNI:       0000 0001 3521 5296
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 1998
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These studies were undertaken to investigate the psychological and psychophysical factors that mediate spatial orientation/disorientation in both healthy and patient populations. PERCEPTION OF ANGULAR VELOCITY: Using a new method of examining perception of rotation this study found a similarity between the sensation and ocular responses following velocity step stimuli. Both decayed exponentially with a time constant of circa 15 seconds following rotation in yaw; circa 7 seconds following rotation in roll. Both the ocular and sensation responses were significantly reduced following repeated vestibular and optokinetic stimulation. The test was conducted with patients suffering from congenital nystagmus, ophthalmoplegia or cerebellar lesions, all of whom had markedly reduced post-rotational sensation responses of approximately 7 to 9 seconds. ADAPTATION TO OSCILLOPSIA: Labyrinthine defective subjects were found to prefer less self- motion when viewing a moving video-image than either ophthalmoplegia subjects or normal controls. The results suggest that adaptation to oscillopsia may be related to an active approach to recovery (i.e. high external locus of control) and also to increased tolerance to retinal slip. This serves to illustrate the coactive role of psychological and psychophysical mechanisms in adaptation to vestibular disorders. INVESTIGATION OF PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PSYCHOSOCIAL FACTORS: This questionnaire- based study aimed to examine adjustment to illness in patients with balance disorders and with congenital nystagmus. The study identified a greater use of emotion-focused coping strategies than problem-focused strategies. It highlighted the prevaience of anxiety and depression among these patients and pointed towards several psychosocial variables (locus of control, self-esteem and social support) that play a significant role in the coping behaviour of these patients. MENSTRUATION, MIGRAINE AND MOTION SICKNESS: The relationship between hormonal cycles and migraine and motion sickness is poorly understood. The study demonstrated that motion sickness and headache occurred independently although exposure to rough seas could be a specific migraine trigger in certain individuals who did not otherwise suffer attacks. Female subjects were more prone to motion sickness around the period of menstruation and less so around ovulation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Disorientation; Oscillopsia