Decerebrate cats with the spinal cord sectioned at low thoracic levels were submitted to rotations in the horizontal plane. The position of the animal with respect to the axis of rotation was such that horizontal canal afferents were activated either alone or in combination with macular afferents. The EMG activity from the triceps brachii muscles of both forelimbs was recorded. The main findings were as follows. (1) The motor output to each forelimb extensor is increased by an increase in the activity of the horizontal canal afferents from the contralateral labyrinth. The phase of the motor output with respect to that of the vestibular afferents shows a lag which increases with frequency, reaching about 85° at 1.0 Hz. (2) The macular and horizontal canal inputs are independently processed in the central nervous system and the motor output in response to both inputs applied simultaneously is a linear summation of the outputs expected for each of the inputs.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work is part of a research program supported by PHS Grant NSO2567. Computer facilities were made available by Grant AFOSR 71-1969 from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Dr. John H. Anderson was supported by NIH Training Grant NSO5494 and Dr. John F. Soechting was the recipient of a Special Postdoctoral Fellowship, No. 1 F10 NS 2739-01 NSRA from NIH.