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The Synergistic Organization of Muscle Recruitment Constrains Visuomotor Adaptation


de Rugy, A and Hinder, MR and Woolley, DG and Carson, RG, The Synergistic Organization of Muscle Recruitment Constrains Visuomotor Adaptation, Journal of Neurophysiology, 101, (5) pp. 2263-2269. ISSN 0022-3077 (2009) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1152/jn.90898.2008


Reaching to visual targets engages the nervous system in a series of transformations between sensory information and motor commands. That which remains to be determined is the extent to which the processes that mediate sensorimotor adaptation to novel environments engage neural circuits that represent the required movement in joint-based or muscle-based coordinate systems. We sought to establish the contribution of these alternative representations to the process of visuomotor adaptation. To do so we applied a visuomotor rotation during a center-out isometric torque production task that involved flexion/extension and supination/pronation at the elbow-joint complex. In separate sessions, distinct half-quadrant rotations (i.e., 45°) were applied such that adaptation could be achieved either by only rescaling the individual joint torques (i.e., the visual target and torque target remained in the same quadrant) or by additionally requiring torque reversal at a contributing joint (i.e., the visual target and torque target were in different quadrants). Analysis of the time course of directional errors revealed that the degree of adaptation was lower (by 20%) when reversals in the direction of joint torques were required. It has been established previously that in this task space, a transition between supination and pronation requires the engagement of a different set of muscle synergists, whereas in a transition between flexion and extension no such change is required. The additional observation that the initial level of adaptation was lower and the subsequent aftereffects were smaller, for trials that involved a pronation–supination transition than for those that involved a flexion–extension transition, supports the conclusion that the process of adaptation engaged, at least in part, neural circuits that represent the required motor output in a muscle-based coordinate system.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Cognitive and computational psychology
Research Field:Sensory processes, perception and performance
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in psychology
UTAS Author:Hinder, MR (Associate Professor Mark Hinder)
ID Code:60040
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:21
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2010-01-07
Last Modified:2011-07-28

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