A reevaluation of the inverse dynamic model for eye movements

Andrea M. Green, Hui Meng, Dora E. Angelaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To construct an appropriate motor command from signals that provide a representation of desired action, the nervous system must take into account the dynamic characteristics of the motor plant to be controlled. In the oculomotor system, signals specifying desired eye velocity are thought to be transformed into motor commands by an inverse dynamic model of the eye plant that is shared for all types of eye movements and implemented by a weighted combination of eye velocity and position signals. Neurons in the prepositus hypoglossi and adjacent medial vestibular nuclei (PH-BT neurons) were traditionally thought to encode the "eye position" component of this inverse model. However, not only are PH-BT responses inconsistent with this theoretical role, but compensatory eye movement responses to translation do not show evidence for processing by a common inverse dynamic model. Prompted by these discrepancies between theoretical notions and experimental observations, we reevaluated these concepts using multiple-frequency rotational and translational head movements. Compatible with the notion of a common inverse model, we show that PH-BT responses are unique among all premotor cell types in bearing a consistent relationship to the motor output during eye movements driven by different sensory stimuli. However, because their responses are dynamically identical to those of motoneurons, PH-BT neurons do not simply represent an internal component of the inverse model, but rather its output. They encode and distribute an estimate of the motor command, a signal critical for accurate motor execution and learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1346-1355
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 7 2007


  • Efference copy
  • Eye movement
  • Internal model
  • Motor control
  • Sensorimotor
  • Vestibular

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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