Vertigo is caused by unilateral vestibular dysfunction. Unilateral vestibular dysfunction represents either vestibular overactivity as benign positional vertigo or underactivity as in labyrinthitis or both, at different times, as in a Ménière's attack. Unilateral dysfunction could also be central rather than peripheral, such as in a lateral medullary syndrome. Unilateral vestibular dysfunction could affect any of the five different sensory areas in the labyrinth, the three semicircular canals and the two otoliths, or their brainstem connections. For rigorous diagnosis of the cause of vertigo, ideally one would have robust, reproducible, quantitative vestibular function tests sensitive to dysfunction of each of the five sensory regions in each ear. In working towards this ideal we have, over the last 15 years, developed three new vestibular function tests: (1) impulsive tests of individual semicircular canal function, (2) evoked potential tests of saccular function and (3) subjective visual horizontal tests of utricular function. The physiological rationale of these three tests is reviewed as well as the interpretation of their results in various diseases.