The vestibular system: multimodal integration and encoding of self-motion for motor control

Trends Neurosci. 2012 Mar;35(3):185-96. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2011.12.001. Epub 2012 Jan 12.


Understanding how sensory pathways transmit information under natural conditions remains a major goal in neuroscience. The vestibular system plays a vital role in everyday life, contributing to a wide range of functions from reflexes to the highest levels of voluntary behavior. Recent experiments establishing that vestibular (self-motion) processing is inherently multimodal also provide insight into a set of interrelated questions. What neural code is used to represent sensory information in vestibular pathways? How do the interactions between the organism and the environment shape encoding? How is self-motion information processing adjusted to meet the needs of specific tasks? This review highlights progress that has recently been made towards understanding how the brain encodes and processes self-motion to ensure accurate motor control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fixation, Ocular / physiology
  • Head Movements / physiology
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Motion
  • Motion Perception
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / cytology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Orientation / physiology
  • Postural Balance / physiology
  • Proprioception / physiology
  • Reflex, Vestibulo-Ocular / physiology
  • Vestibular Nuclei
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / innervation
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / physiology*
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology