A meta-analysis of applied vestibular stimulation research

Kenneth J. Ottenbacher, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Paul Petersen, Elizabethtown College


The results of studies examining the effectiveness of vestibular stimulation as a form of sensory stimulation were reviewed. The review employed recently developed quantitative methods that treat the literature review process as a unique type of research. Forty-one studies were located that employed some form of vestibular stimulation as the independent variable. Eighteen of these studies met criteria consistent with traditionally accepted standards of empirical inquiry in the behavioral and biomedical sciences and were included in the review. The 18 studies contained a total of 44 hypothesis tests that evaluated the efficacy of vestibular stimulation as a form of sensory enrichment designed to facilitate various developmental parameters. An analysis of the resultsof these tests, using methods of meta-analysis, revealedthat subjects receiving vestibular stimulation performedsignificantly better than members of control or comparison groups who did not receive such stimulation.