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The Head-Neck Sensory Motor System$
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Alain Berthoz, Werner Graf, and P. P. Vidal

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780195068207

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195068207.001.0001

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Eye and Head Movements as Specialized Functions of Vestibular Circuits

Eye and Head Movements as Specialized Functions of Vestibular Circuits

(p.241) Chapter 37 Eye and Head Movements as Specialized Functions of Vestibular Circuits
The Head-Neck Sensory Motor System

Kurt-peter Schaefer

Dietrich Lothar Meyer

Oxford University Press

The aim of this chapter is to focus on the huge extent to which eye-head movements mirror specialized functions of the vestibular system, or circuits derived from this system. Accordingly, the authors argue that many of the physiologic phenomena described can only be understood if the evolutionary background is appreciated. Apparently, evolution shaped the vestibular systems long before a mobile neck evolved, and the “problems” under consideration at this conference were created by nature. Originally, the vestibular system's main function has been to stabilize the eyes in space during active and passive body movements. Without such a mechanism, visual functions would be significantly impaired.

Keywords:   eye-head movements, vestibular system, eyes, visual functions, physiologic phenomena

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