Brain and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) movements are influenced by the anatomy and mechanical properties of intracranial tissues, as well as by the waveforms of driving vascular pulsations. The authors analyze these movements so that the purely hemodynamic factors are removed and the underlying mechanical couplings between brain, CSF, and the vasculature are characterized in global fashion. These measurements were used to calculate a set of impulse response functions or modulation transfer functions, characterizing global aspects of the vasculature's mechanical coupling to the intracranial tissues, the cervical CSF, and the cervical spinal cord. These functions showed that a sudden influx of blood into the head was rapidly accommodated by some type of intracranial reserve or capacity. After this initial response, an equal volume of CSF was driven through the foramen magnum over the next 200-300 ms as the intracranial reserve relaxed to its base-line state.