Biomedical Cybernetics

The reafference principle is a theory that has been proposed by von Holst and Mittelstaedt in 1950. It gives an explanation for the fact that self initiated motions don‘t interfere with the perception of constancy.

Reafference principle

In this example the superior center Zn gives the command K that eventually elicits the efferent signal E. Via the reafference A the effectors reaction would lead to an erroneous motion signal M and hence to undesirable symptoms like vertigo and dizziness. This effect can be prevented in the peripheral center Z1 by the efference copy EK.


  • v. Holst, E. und H. Mittelstaedt (1950). Das Reafferenzprinzip. Naturwissenschaften 37 :464-76.