Vestibulo-neck-ular reflex and stumbling baby

After several students requested copies, I posted two movies on youtube, one of how visual input to balance can make a baby fall when visual stimulation is perverse.  The other shows how the owl’s vestibular system allows its neck to quickly counterrotate to compensate for the body’s movement.

Both videos make people laugh. Both demonstrate aspects of animal proprioceptive systems that allow us to keep our balance and keep our eyes on an object of interest. We humans have a reflex (the vestibulo-ocular reflex) like the owl’s which causes our eyes to compensate for our head and body movement. Probably because the owls can’t move their eyes much, they move their head instead to compensate for body movement (Money & Correia 1972), which you might call a vestibulo-neck-ular reflex. I haven’t been able to determine the origin of this video, but it was apparently created by K.E. Money who did much of the associated physiological work.

Money KE, & Correia MJ (1972). The vestibular system of the owl. Comparative biochemistry and physiology. A, Comparative physiology, 42 (2), 353-8 PMID: 4404369

One thought on “Vestibulo-neck-ular reflex and stumbling baby

  1. thanks! 🙂

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