Tonic and phasic contributions to the pathways mediating compensation and adaptation of the vestibulo-ocular reflex

Lloyd B. Minor, David M. Lasker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Processes of vestibular compensation mediate recovery of many aspects of vestibular dysfunction following unilateral vestibular injury. The VOR in response to high-frequency, high-acceleration head movements, however, retains an enduring asymmetry. Head movements that are inhibitory with respect to semicircular canals on the intact side lead to a diminished VOR whereas head movements that are excitatory for semicircular canals on the intact side lead to a VOR that returns close to normal. We review our work directed toward understanding the processes of VOR compensation to high-frequency, high-acceleration head movements and the related topic of adaptation to changes in the visual requirements for a compensatory VOR. Our work has shown that the processes of both compensation and adaptation to these stimuli can be described by a mathematical model with inputs from tonic and phasic components. We have further shown that the dynamics of regular afferents have close resemblance to the tonic pathway whereas the dynamics of irregular afferents match those of the phasic pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-170
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Vestibular Research: Equilibrium and Orientation
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009



  • Regular afferent
  • high acceleration head movement
  • irregular afferent
  • labyrinthectomy
  • mathematical model
  • retinal slip error
  • semicircular canals
  • vestibular
  • vestibular hypofunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Clinical Neurology

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