Predicting vestibular proprioceptive and biomechanical control strategies in normal and pathological head movements

G. C Y Peng, T. C. Hain*, B. W. Peterson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Little is known of the functionality of the vestibulocollic reflex (VCR) and cervico-collic reflex (CCR) during head and neck movements caused by perturbations of the trunk. Previously we formulated mathematical expressions for these neck reflexes and incorporated them into a model of horizontal plane head movements. The formalism of this neuromechanical model allowed us to examine separately the main components of head movement control. In the present study we examine selected parameters within the main components of the model and associate variations of these parameters with disease processes affecting head and neck movements such as loss of sensory input or modification in central or motor function. Our simulations led us to several conclusions. First the probable use of the VCR and CCR in yaw plane head movements is to tune the head response. In the time domain they diminish natural head oscillations (head wobble) related to head mechanics. Equivalently in the frequency domain they reduce the amplitude of head wobble (resonances) around 2 Hz. Second our simulations suggest that the VCR is about ten times stronger than the CCR in normal humans. Moreover this disproportion is associated with only very minor contributions from the CCR in yaw. Third head oscillations (or instability) can be generated by mechanical or neural changes in the head and neck system. Finally readjustments of central nervous system dynamic operations could provide mechanisms to compensate for sensory and motor dysfunction caused by disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1269-1280
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1999


  • Head
  • Model
  • Neck
  • Reflex
  • Vestibular

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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