J Neurophysiol, 99 , pp. 2369-82, 2008, ISSN: 0022-3077.
The headtextquoterights inertia produces forces on the neck when the body moves. One collective function of the vestibulocollic and cervicocollic reflexes (VCR and CCR) is thought to be to stabilize the head with respect to the trunk during whole body movements. Little is known as to whether their head-movement kinematics produced by squirrel monkeys during whole body rotations are similar to those of cats and humans. Prior experiments with cats and human subjects have shown that yaw head-movement kinematics are unaffected by changes in the headtextquoterights inertia when the whole body is rotated. These observations have led to the hypothesis that the combined actions of the VCR and CCR accommodate for changes in the headtextquoterights inertia. To test this hypothesis in squirrel monkeys, it was imperative to first characterize the behavior of head movements produced during whole body rotation and then investigate their sensitivity to changes in the headtextquoterights inertia. Our behavioral studies show that squirrel monkeys produce only small head movements with respect to the trunk during whole body rotations over a wide range of stimulus frequencies and velocities (0.5-4.0 Hz; 0-100 degrees /s). Similar head movements were produced when only small additional changes in the headtextquoterights inertia occurred. Electromyographic recordings from the splenius muscle revealed that an active process was utilized such that increases in muscle activation occurred when the inertia of the head was increased. These results are consistent with prior cat and human studies, suggesting that squirrel monkeys have a similar horizontal VCR and CCR.