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Air righting without the cervical righting reflex in adult rats.

Authors
  • Pellis, S M1
  • Pellis, V C
  • Teitelbaum, P
  • 1 Department of Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Behavioural Brain Research
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Nov 26, 1991
Volume
45
Issue
2
Pages
185–188
Identifiers
PMID: 1789926
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The current explanation of air righting in animals is that when falling supine in the air, labyrinthine stimulation triggers head rotation. The head rotation involves neck rotation which, via the cervical righting reflex, triggers rotation of the body. (In cats and monkeys, when the labyrinths are absent, visual stimulation when falling supine can also trigger this righting sequence.) In the present paper, a descriptive analysis of air righting in the rat shows that the shoulders rotate, carrying the unmoving head and neck passively along. Thus, for this species, labyrinthine input appears to trigger shoulder rotation directly, independently of the cervical righting reflex. This suggests that at least two physiological mechanisms exist for labyrinthine control of head rotation during air righting, one via the neck and the other via the shoulder girdle.

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