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Characterizing the Role of Arm Configuration on Patterns of Movement Variability in 3D Space

Description

Motor behavior is prone to variable conditions and deviates further in disorders affecting the nervous system. A combination of environmental and neural factors impacts the amount of uncertainty. Although the influence of these factors on estimating endpoint positions have been

Motor behavior is prone to variable conditions and deviates further in disorders affecting the nervous system. A combination of environmental and neural factors impacts the amount of uncertainty. Although the influence of these factors on estimating endpoint positions have been examined, the role of limb configuration on endpoint variability has been mostly ignored. Characterizing the influence of arm configuration (i.e. intrinsic factors) would allow greater comprehension of sensorimotor integration and assist in interpreting exaggerated movement variability in patients. In this study, subjects were placed in a 3-D virtual reality environment and were asked to move from a starting position to one of three targets in the frontal plane with and without visual feedback of the moving limb. The alternating of visual feedback during trials increased uncertainty between the planning and execution phases. The starting limb configurations, adducted and abducted, were varied in separate blocks. Arm configurations were setup by rotating along the shoulder-hand axis to maintain endpoint position. The investigation hypothesized: 1) patterns of endpoint variability of movements would be dependent upon the starting arm configuration and 2) any differences observed would be more apparent in conditions that withheld visual feedback. The results indicated that there were differences in endpoint variability between arm configurations in both visual conditions, but differences in variability increased when visual feedback was withheld. Overall this suggests that in the presence of visual feedback, planning of movements in 3D space mostly uses coordinates that are arm configuration independent. On the other hand, without visual feedback, planning of movements in 3D space relies substantially on intrinsic coordinates.

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2014-05

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Characterizing the Role of Arm Configuration on Patterns of Movement Variability in 3D Space

Description

Motor behavior is prone to variable conditions and deviates further in disorders affecting the nervous system. A combination of environmental and neural factors impacts the amount of uncertainty. Although the influence of these factors on estimating endpoint positions have been

Motor behavior is prone to variable conditions and deviates further in disorders affecting the nervous system. A combination of environmental and neural factors impacts the amount of uncertainty. Although the influence of these factors on estimating endpoint positions have been examined, the role of limb configuration on endpoint variability has been mostly ignored. Characterizing the influence of arm configuration (i.e. intrinsic factors) would allow greater comprehension of sensorimotor integration and assist in interpreting exaggerated movement variability in patients. In this study, subjects were placed in a 3-D virtual reality environment and were asked to move from a starting position to one of three targets in the frontal plane with and without visual feedback of the moving limb. The alternating of visual feedback during trials increased uncertainty between the planning and execution phases. The starting limb configurations, adducted and abducted, were varied in separate blocks. Arm configurations were setup by rotating along the shoulder-hand axis to maintain endpoint position. The investigation hypothesized: 1) patterns of endpoint variability of movements would be dependent upon the starting arm configuration and 2) any differences observed would be more apparent in conditions that withheld visual feedback. The results indicated that there were differences in endpoint variability between arm configurations in both visual conditions, but differences in variability increased when visual feedback was withheld. Overall this suggests that in the presence of visual feedback, planning of movements in 3D space mostly uses coordinates that are arm configuration independent. On the other hand, without visual feedback, planning of movements in 3D space relies substantially on intrinsic coordinates.

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2014-05

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Behavioral Basis of Sensorimotor Control and Learning

Description

Motor learning is the process of improving task execution according to some measure of performance. This can be divided into skill learning, a model-free process, and adaptation, a model-based process. Prior studies have indicated that adaptation results from two complementary

Motor learning is the process of improving task execution according to some measure of performance. This can be divided into skill learning, a model-free process, and adaptation, a model-based process. Prior studies have indicated that adaptation results from two complementary learning systems with parallel organization. This report attempted to answer the question of whether a similar interaction leads to savings, a model-free process that is described as faster relearning when experiencing something familiar. This was tested in a two-week reaching task conducted on a robotic arm capable of perturbing movements. The task was designed so that the two sessions differed in their history of errors. By measuring the change in the learning rate, the savings was determined at various points. The results showed that the history of errors successfully modulated savings. Thus, this supports the notion that the two complementary systems interact to develop savings. Additionally, this report was part of a larger study that will explore the organizational structure of the complementary systems as well as the neural basis of this motor learning.

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2021-05

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Effects of arm configuration on patterns of reaching variability in 3D space

Description

Reaching movements are subject to noise in both the planning and execution phases of movement production. Although the effects of these noise sources in estimating and/or controlling endpoint position have been examined in many studies, the independent effects of limb

Reaching movements are subject to noise in both the planning and execution phases of movement production. Although the effects of these noise sources in estimating and/or controlling endpoint position have been examined in many studies, the independent effects of limb configuration on endpoint variability have been largely ignored. The present study investigated the effects of arm configuration on the interaction between planning noise and execution noise. Subjects performed reaching movements to three targets located in a frontal plane. At the starting position, subjects matched one of two desired arm configuration 'templates' namely "adducted" and "abducted". These arm configurations were obtained by rotations along the shoulder-hand axis, thereby maintaining endpoint position. Visual feedback of the hand was varied from trial to trial, thereby increasing uncertainty in movement planning and execution. It was hypothesized that 1) pattern of endpoint variability would be dependent on arm configuration and 2) that these differences would be most apparent in conditions without visual feedback. It was found that there were differences in endpoint variability between arm configurations in both visual conditions, but these differences were much larger when visual feedback was withheld. The overall results suggest that patterns of endpoint variability are highly dependent on arm configuration, particularly in the absence of visual feedback. This suggests that in the presence of vision, movement planning in 3D space is performed using coordinates that are largely arm configuration independent (i.e. extrinsic coordinates). In contrast, in the absence of vision, movement planning in 3D space reflects a substantial contribution of intrinsic coordinates.

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2013

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Limb position estimation: neural mechanisms and consequences for movement production

Description

An accurate sense of upper limb position is crucial to reaching movements where sensory information about upper limb position and target location is combined to specify critical features of the movement plan. This dissertation was dedicated to studying the mechanisms

An accurate sense of upper limb position is crucial to reaching movements where sensory information about upper limb position and target location is combined to specify critical features of the movement plan. This dissertation was dedicated to studying the mechanisms of how the brain estimates the limb position in space and the consequences of misestimation of limb position on movements. Two independent but related studies were performed. The first involved characterizing the neural mechanisms of limb position estimation in the non-human primate brain. Single unit recordings were obtained in area 5 of the posterior parietal cortex in order to examine the role of this area in estimating limb position based on visual and somatic signals (proprioceptive, efference copy). When examined individually, many area 5 neurons were tuned to the position of the limb in the workspace but very few neurons were modulated by visual feedback. At the population level however decoding of limb position was somewhat more accurate when visual feedback was provided. These findings support a role for area 5 in limb position estimation but also suggest that visual signals regarding limb position are only weakly represented in this area, and only at the population level. The second part of this dissertation focused on the consequences of misestimation of limb position for movement production. It is well known that limb movements are inherently variable. This variability could be the result of noise arising at one or more stages of movement production. Here we used biomechanical modeling and simulation techniques to characterize movement variability resulting from noise in estimating limb position ('sensing noise') and in planning required movement vectors ('planning noise'), and compared that to the variability expected due to noise in movement execution. We found that the effects of sensing and planning related noise on movement variability were dependent upon both the planned movement direction and the initial configuration of the arm and were different in many respects from the effects of execution noise.

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Date Created
2011

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Investigating spectra of spiking behavior in area 5 of the parietal cortex

Description

In order to successfully implement a neural prosthetic system, it is necessary to understand the control of limb movements and the representation of body position in the nervous system. As this development process continues, it is becoming increasingly important to

In order to successfully implement a neural prosthetic system, it is necessary to understand the control of limb movements and the representation of body position in the nervous system. As this development process continues, it is becoming increasingly important to understand the way multiple sensory modalities are used in limb representation. In a previous study, Shi et al. (2013) examined the multimodal basis of limb position in the superior parietal lobule (SPL) as monkeys reached to and held their arm at various target locations in a frontal plane. Visual feedback was withheld in half the trials, though non-visual (i.e. somatic) feedback was available in all trials. Previous analysis showed that some of the neurons were tuned to limb position and that some neurons had their response modulated by the presence or absence of visual feedback. This modulation manifested in decreases in firing rate variability in the vision condition as compared to nonvision. The decreases in firing rate variability, as shown through decreases in both the Fano factor of spike counts and the coefficient of variation of the inter-spike intervals, suggested that changes were taking place in both trial-by-trial and intra-trial variability. I sought to further probe the source of the change in intra-trial variability through spectral analysis. It was hypothesized that the presence of temporal structure in the vision condition would account for a regularity in firing that would have decreased intra-trial variability. While no peaks were apparent in the spectra, differences in spectral power between visual conditions were found. These differences are suggestive of unique temporal spiking patterns at the individual neuron level that may be influential at the population level.

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2013

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The internal representation of arm position revealed through the spatial pattern of hand location estimation errors

Description

Our ability to estimate the position of our body parts in space, a fundamentally proprioceptive process, is crucial for interacting with the environment and movement control. For proprioception to support these actions, the Central Nervous System has to rely on

Our ability to estimate the position of our body parts in space, a fundamentally proprioceptive process, is crucial for interacting with the environment and movement control. For proprioception to support these actions, the Central Nervous System has to rely on a stored internal representation of the body parts in space. However, relatively little is known about this internal representation of arm position. To this end, I developed a method to map proprioceptive estimates of hand location across a 2-d workspace. In this task, I moved each subject's hand to a target location while the subject's eyes were closed. After returning the hand, subjects opened their eyes to verbally report the location of where their fingertip had been. Then, I reconstructed and analyzed the spatial structure of the pattern of estimation errors. In the first couple of experiments I probed the structure and stability of the pattern of errors by manipulating the hand used and tactile feedback provided when the hand was at each target location. I found that the resulting pattern of errors was systematically stable across conditions for each subject, subject-specific, and not uniform across the workspace. These findings suggest that the observed structure of pattern of errors has been constructed through experience, which has resulted in a systematically stable internal representation of arm location. Moreover, this representation is continuously being calibrated across the workspace. In the next two experiments, I aimed to probe the calibration of this structure. To this end, I used two different perturbation paradigms: 1) a virtual reality visuomotor adaptation to induce a local perturbation, 2) and a standard prism adaptation paradigm to induce a global perturbation. I found that the magnitude of the errors significantly increased to a similar extent after each perturbation. This small effect indicates that proprioception is recalibrated to a similar extent regardless of how the perturbation is introduced, suggesting that sensory and motor changes may be two independent processes arising from the perturbation. Moreover, I propose that the internal representation of arm location might be constructed with a global solution and not capable of local changes.

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Date Created
2012

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Neural mechanisms of sensory integration: frequency domain analysis of spike and field potential activity during arm position maintenance with and without visual feedback

Description

Understanding where our bodies are in space is imperative for motor control, particularly for actions such as goal-directed reaching. Multisensory integration is crucial for reducing uncertainty in arm position estimates. This dissertation examines time and frequency-domain correlates of

Understanding where our bodies are in space is imperative for motor control, particularly for actions such as goal-directed reaching. Multisensory integration is crucial for reducing uncertainty in arm position estimates. This dissertation examines time and frequency-domain correlates of visual-proprioceptive integration during an arm-position maintenance task. Neural recordings were obtained from two different cortical areas as non-human primates performed a center-out reaching task in a virtual reality environment. Following a reach, animals maintained the end-point position of their arm under unimodal (proprioception only) and bimodal (proprioception and vision) conditions. In both areas, time domain and multi-taper spectral analysis methods were used to quantify changes in the spiking, local field potential (LFP), and spike-field coherence during arm-position maintenance.

In both areas, individual neurons were classified based on the spectrum of their spiking patterns. A large proportion of cells in the SPL that exhibited sensory condition-specific oscillatory spiking in the beta (13-30Hz) frequency band. Cells in the IPL typically had a more diverse mix of oscillatory and refractory spiking patterns during the task in response to changing sensory condition. Contrary to the assumptions made in many modelling studies, none of the cells exhibited Poisson-spiking statistics in SPL or IPL.

Evoked LFPs in both areas exhibited greater effects of target location than visual condition, though the evoked responses in the preferred reach direction were generally suppressed in the bimodal condition relative to the unimodal condition. Significant effects of target location on evoked responses were observed during the movement period of the task well.

In the frequency domain, LFP power in both cortical areas was enhanced in the beta band during the position estimation epoch of the task, indicating that LFP beta oscillations may be important for maintaining the ongoing state. This was particularly evident at the population level, with clear increase in alpha and beta power. Differences in spectral power between conditions also became apparent at the population level, with power during bimodal trials being suppressed relative to unimodal. The spike-field coherence showed confounding results in both the SPL and IPL, with no clear correlation between incidence of beta oscillations and significant beta coherence.

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2017