Have you ever given thought to your head movements during running or walking ? Ever wonder why the world doesn’t seem to bound around as we move ? Wonder why things look different through your eyes when you yourself are running as compared to when you are watching the nauseating jerky video of someone wearing a camera on their head ?
Bryce Vickmark for The New York Times interviewed Dr. Lieberman of the Harvard Nature study…. here is a quote from that interview.
“We (Lieberman) realized that there were special features in the human neck that enable us to keep our heads still. That gives us an evolutionary advantage because it helps us avoid falls and injuries. And this seemed like evidence of natural selection in our ability to run, an important factor in how we became hunters rather than just foragers and got access to richer foods, which fueled the evolution of our big brains.”
Gait Guys say this….. “The ability to see clearly while moving / running / hunting is a well rooted primitive neurologic function in man. The visual-motor system (oculomotor system) is capable of assimilating the visual information and making calculations for the small head displacements that occur with movement via neural mechanisms that control three-dimensional head posture while coordinating three-dimensional eye orientation. The body’s movements as a whole (eye, head and body) are part of a coordinated series of sensory-motor events that are used to voluntarily reorient the axis of gaze between objects. Body movements themselves can make a predictable contribution to gaze shifts and one study (link) has shown that single neurons (yes, one small neuron all by itself) can code motor commands to move the body as well as the head and eyes. It is a finely tuned system, an amazing system. One we rarely appreciate anymore since running during a hunt for food no longer occurs in urban America. Of course this function is seamlessly tested everyday in athletes, unless of course you are a football or other impact sport athlete, and have accelerated your noggin one too many times. Ask any aging boxer or ex-football player how their visual-motor system is doing ! (and since it is NFL and high school football season….. here is support for those dropped endzone passes in the concussed wide receivers...LINK and. LINK)
NY Times link: for the Lieberman article.
We are The Gait Guys…….. running and hunting outside the box everyday, looking for answers.