The primary function of the vestibuloocular reflex (VOR) is to maintain the stability of retinal images during head movements. This function is expressed through a complex array of dynamic and adaptive characteristics whose essential physiological basis is a disynaptic arc. We present a model of normal VOR function using a simple neural network architecture constrained by the physiological and anatomical characteristics of this disynaptic reflex arc. When tuned using a method of global optimization, this network is capable of exhibiting the broadband response characteristics observed in behavioral tests of VOR function. Examination of the internal units in the network show that this performance is achieved by rediscovering the solution to VOR processing first proposed by Skavenski and Robinson (1973). Type I units at the intermediate level of the network possess activation characteristics associated with either pure position or pure velocity. When the network is made more complex either through adding more pairs of internal units or an additional level of units, the characteristic division of unit activation properties into position and velocity types remains unchanged. Although simple in nature, the results of our simulations reinforce the validity of bottom-up approaches to modeling of neutral function. In addition, the architecture of the network is consistent with current ideas on the characteristics and site of adaptation of the reflex and should be compatible with current theories regarding learning rules for synaptic modification during VOR adaptation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Computer Science