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December 5, 2019

Obsbourne Centre, Unit 1
Room 203
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1

Cluster Training Meeting with Dr.Lorenz Assländer from the University of Konstanz


Which way is up? Resolving this simple question is a major challenge for the central nervous system. Especially in situations with conflicting sensory cues, e.g. when standing on a skateboard while looking at a driving bus. Here, neither vision, nor the reference to the support surface provide veridical information about body orientation in space. However, it is well known that humans rely strongly on vision and the proprioceptive reference to the support surface in other situations. So how does the central nervous system dynamically weight different sensory cues?  

The basic ideas underlying our current understanding are based on psycho-physics experiments on self-motion perception on a rotating chair. The talk will present these ideas on sensory integration and translate them to our recent results on sensory integration in standing balance. Throughout the talk, we will use model-based interpretations of the experiments. We argue, that quantitative models are an excellent tool to interpret and understand experimental results, since the nonlinear systems underlying perception and balance can have a rather simple structure and yet generate very complex and unintuitive behavior. 

Speaker Bio:

Lorenz Assländer was born in Würzburg, Germany. He studied Physics and Sport Science at the University of Freiburg. For his doctoral degree he was working at the department for Neurology at the University Clinics of Freiburg in the group of Thomas Mergner and for 6 month at the Oregon Health & Science University (Portland, Oregon) in the lab of Robert Peterka. Since 2016 he is on a tenured Post-Doc position at the University of Konstanz. His main research interests are the mechanisms underlying human postural control, with a specialization in the modeling of the control mechanisms of standing balance.