EMG recordings of the neck muscles (biventer cervicis, complexus, splenius, longus capitis) of decerebrate cats were obtained during pitch and roll stimulations (sinusoidal stimulation: 30 degrees p-p amplitude, 0.2 Hz frequency). Most of the EMG responses to pitch showed activation peaks leading the position stimuli by 56 degrees and inhibition peaks leading by 11 degrees. Conversely, in response to roll the activation peak led by 16 degrees and the inhibition peak by 10 degrees. The activation peaks of the pitch responses were, thus, more asymmetric and more leading than those of the roll responses. Consequently, the harmonic distortion coefficient was significantly higher in pitch than in roll. Moreover, when the vertical semicircular canals were activated in absence of otolithic modulation, the pitch and roll responses maintained the same difference in timing observed in the presence of otolithic coactivation. It appeared that the simultaneous stimulation of both anterior semicircular canals (pitch) induces a greater lead than that of combined anterior and posterior canals (roll). Thus the timing of neck muscle responses to vestibular stimulation depends on the pair of activated vertical semicircular canals.