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The role of inertial sensitivity in motor planning

Sabes, PN; Jordan, MI; Wolpert, DM; (1998) The role of inertial sensitivity in motor planning. Journal of Neuroscience , 18 5948 - 5957. Green open access

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To achieve a given motor task a single trajectory must be chosen from the infinite set of possibilities consistent with the task. To investigate such motor planning in a natural environment, we examined the kinematics of reaching movements made around a visual obstacle in three-dimensional space. Within each session, the start and end points of the movement were uniformly varied around the obstacle. However, the distribution of the near points, where the paths came closest to the obstacle, showed a strong anisotropy, clustering at the poles of a preferred axis through the center of the obstacle. The preferred axes for movements made with the left and right arms were mirror symmetric about the midsagittal plane, suggesting that the anisotropy stems from intrinsic properties of the arm rather than extrinsic visual factors. One account of these results is a sensitivity model of motor planning, in which the movement path is skewed so that when the hand passes closest to the obstacle, the arm is in a configuration that is least sensitive to perturbations that might cause collision. To test this idea, we measured the mobility ellipse of the arm. The mobility minor axis represents the direction in which the hand is most inertially stable to a force perturbation. In agreement with the sensitivity model, the mobility minor axis was not significantly different from the preferred near point axis. The results suggest that the sensitivity of the arm to perturbations, as determined by its inertial stability, is taken into account in the planning process.

Type: Article
Title: The role of inertial sensitivity in motor planning
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. The license allows you to copy, distribute, and transmit the work, as well as adapting it. However, you must attribute the work to the author (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work), and cannot use the work for commercial purposes without prior permission of the author. If you alter or build upon this work, you can distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA.
UCL classification: UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/180433
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