Path integration: Effect of curved path complexity and sensory system on blindfolded walking

Panagiotis Koutakis, Mukul Mukherjee, Srikant Vallabhajosula, Daniel J. Blanke, Nicholas Stergiou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Path integration refers to the ability to integrate continuous information of the direction and distance traveled by the system relative to the origin. Previous studies have investigated path integration through blindfolded walking along simple paths such as straight line and triangles. However, limited knowledge exists regarding the role of path complexity in path integration. Moreover, little is known about how information from different sensory input systems (like vision and proprioception) contributes to accurate path integration. The purpose of the current study was to investigate how sensory information and curved path complexity affect path integration. Forty blindfolded participants had to accurately reproduce a curved path and return to the origin. They were divided into four groups that differed in the curved path, circle (simple) or figure-eight (complex), and received either visual (previously seen) or proprioceptive (previously guided) information about the path before they reproduced it. The dependent variables used were average trajectory error, walking speed, and distance traveled. The results indicated that (a) both groups that walked on a circular path and both groups that received visual information produced greater accuracy in reproducing the path. Moreover, the performance of the group that received proprioceptive information and later walked on a figure-eight path was less accurate than their corresponding circular group. The groups that had the visual information also walked faster compared to the group that had proprioceptive information. Results of the current study highlight the roles of different sensory inputs while performing blindfolded walking for path integration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-158
Number of pages5
JournalGait and Posture
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • Gait
  • Human navigation
  • Locomotion
  • Proprioception
  • Spatial performance
  • Vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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