Neuroscience 6e Chapter 14 Summary

The vestibular system provides information about the orientation of the head with respect to gravity and head motion. The sensory receptor cells are located in the otolith organs and the semicircular canals of the inner ear. The otolith organs provide information for ocular reflexes and postural adjustments when the head tilts in various directions or undergoes translational movements, and for our perception of these tilts and translations. The semicircular canals, in contrast, provide information about head rotations; these stimuli initiate reflex movements that adjust the eyes, head, and body during motor activities. Among the best studied of these reflexes are eye movements that compensate for head movements, thereby stabilizing the visual scene when the head moves. Information from the vestibular system also plays a central role in our perception of spatial orientation and our ability to navigate through the environment. Vestibular processing is inherently multisensory: Input from all the vestibular organs is integrated with input from the visual and somatosensory systems to provide perceptions of body position and orientation in space.