Dynamic modulation of visual and electrosensory gains for locomotor control

Erin E. Sutton, Alican Demir, Sarah A. Stamper, Eric S. Fortune, Noah J. Cowan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Animal nervous systems resolve sensory conflict for the control of movement. For example, the glass knifefish, Eigenmannia virescens, relies on visual and electrosensory feedback as it swims to maintain position within a moving refuge. To study how signals from these two parallel sensory streams are used in refuge tracking, we constructed a novel augmented reality apparatus that enables the independent manipulation of visual and electrosensory cues to freely swimming fish (n = 5). We evaluated the linearity of multisensory integration, the change to the relative perceptual weights given to vision and electrosense in relation to sensory salience, and the effect of the magnitude of sensory conflict on sensorimotor gain. First, we found that tracking behaviour obeys superposition of the sensory inputs, suggesting linear sensorimotor integration. In addition, fish rely more on vision when electrosensory salience is reduced, suggesting that fish dynamically alter sensorimotor gains in a manner consistent with Bayesian integration. However, the magnitude of sensory conflict did not significantly affect sensorimotor gain. These studies lay the theoretical and experimental groundwork for future work investigating multisensory control of locomotion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20160057
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number118
StatePublished - May 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering


  • Feedback control
  • Locomotion
  • Multisensory integration
  • Sensory conflict
  • System identification
  • Weakly electric fish


Dive into the research topics of 'Dynamic modulation of visual and electrosensory gains for locomotor control'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this