The orientation of Listing's Plane in microgravity

A. H. Clarke, Thomas Haslwanter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)


The orientation of Listing's Plane (LP) was examined under one-g and zero-g conditions during parabolic flight. Ten healthy subjects participated in the experiment. In zero-g the orientation of LP was consistently altered. LP elevation was tilted backwards by approx. 10° (p = 0.003). The azimuth angles of the left and right eyes also diverged in zero-g, with a statistically significant change (p = 0.04) in the vergence angle between 6.1° and 11.8°. A discernible dissociation in torsional eye position was also observed, which proved to be statistically significant (p = 0.03). The thickness of LP was found to be of the order of 1°, and was not significantly altered by the transitions between one-g and zero-g. Additional control experiments involving repeated measurements of LP under normal laboratory conditions demonstrated that the parameters of LP remain stable in the individual. The parabolic flight results demonstrate that in contrast to re-orientation in the one-g gravitational field, the elimination of gravity represents a qualitative change for the vestibular and oculomotor systems. It appears that given the lack of voluntary control of ocular torsion, the tonic otolith afferences are instrumental in the stabilisation of torsional eye position and consequently of Listing's Plane. The observed torsional divergence also provides support for the so-called otolith asymmetry hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3132-3140
Number of pages9
JournalVision Research
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007


  • Eye movements
  • Gravity
  • Listing's plane
  • Microgravity
  • Otolith
  • Video-oculography


Dive into the research topics of 'The orientation of Listing's Plane in microgravity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this