Encyclopedia of Neuroscience

2009 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Binder, Nobutaka Hirokawa, Uwe Windhorst

Vestibulocollic and Cervicocollic Control

  • Emily A. Keshner
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-29678-2_6308


Control of the neck is exerted primarily by two sensory systems, the vestibular system in response to the signals received by the vestibular end organs (the otoliths and the semicircular canals within the vestibular labyrinths) and the proprioceptors of the cervical spine. Two automatic and stereotypical responses can be elicited by direct stimulation of these receptors. The vestibulocollic reflex (VCR) is a compensatory response of the neck muscles when head motion is sensed by the vestibular organs in the inner ear. The cervicocollic reflex (CCR) is a compensatory response of the neck muscles that is driven by neck proprioceptive inputs during motion of the body.

Description of the Theory

The function of the VCR is to stabilize the position of the head in space and thereby stabilize gaze in space [1]. The function of the CCR is to stabilize the head on the body and, thereby, provide information about motion of the head with respect to the trunk [2]. These reflexes are...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1.
    Wilson VJ, Schor RH (1999) The neural substrate of the vestibulocollic reflex. What needs to be learned. Exp Brain Res 129:483–493PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Goldberg J, Peterson BW (1986) Reflex and mechanical contributions to head stabilization in alert cats. J Neurophysiol 56:857–875PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Boyle R (2001) Vestibulospinal control of reflex and voluntary head movement. Ann NY Acad Sci 942:364–380PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Keshner EA, Peterson BW (1995) Mechanisms controlling human head stabilization. I. Head-neck dynamics during random rotations in the horizontal plane. J Neurophysiol 73:2293–2301PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Keshner EA, Cromwell RL, Peterson BW (1995) Mechanisms controlling human head stabilization. II. Head-neck characteristics during random rotations in the vertical plane. J Neurophysiol 73:2302–2312PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Keshner EA (2003) Head-trunk coordination during linear anterior-posterior translations. J Neurophysiol 89:1891–1901PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Peng GC, Hain TC, Peterson BW (1996) A dynamical model for reflex activated head movements in the horizontal plane. Biol Cybern 75:309–319PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Keshner EA, Hain TC, Chen KJ (1999) Predicting control mechanisms for human head stabilization by altering the passive mechanics. J Vestib Res 9:423–434PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Guitton D, Kearney RE, Wereley N, Peterson BW (1986) Visual, vestibular and voluntary contributions to human head stabilization. Exp Brain Res 64:59–69PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Keshner EA, Woollacott MH, Debu B (1988) Neck, trunk and limb muscle responses during postural perturbations in humans. Exp Brain Res 71:455–466PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily A. Keshner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physical Therapy, College of Health Professions and Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of EngineeringTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA