Two-dimensional coding of linear acceleration and the angular velocity sensitivity of the otolith system

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


There exist otolith-sensitive vestibular nuclei neurons with spatio-temporal properties that can be described by two response vectors that are in temporal and spatial quadrature. These neurons respond to the component of a stimulus vector on a plane rather than a single axis. It is demonstrated here that these "two-dimensional" linear accelerometer neurons can function as one-dimensional angular velocity detectors. The two-dimensional property in both space and time allows these neurons to encode the component of the stimulus angular velocity vector that is normal to the plane defined by the two response vectors. The angular velocity vector in space can then be reconstructed by three populations of such neurons having linearly independent response planes. Thus, we propose that these two-dimensional spatio-temporal linear accelerometer neurons, in addition to participating in functions of the otolith system that are based on detection of linear acceleration, are also involved in the generation of compensatory ocular responses during off-vertical axis rotations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-521
Number of pages11
JournalBiological cybernetics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 1 1992


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Computer Science(all)

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