Artificial gravity reveals that economy of action determines the stability of sensorimotor coordination

Carson, Richard G., Oytam, Yalchin and Riek, Stephan (2009) Artificial gravity reveals that economy of action determines the stability of sensorimotor coordination. PLoS One, 4 4: e5248-1-e5248-6. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005248


Author Carson, Richard G.
Oytam, Yalchin
Riek, Stephan
Title Artificial gravity reveals that economy of action determines the stability of sensorimotor coordination
Journal name PLoS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2009-04
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0005248
Volume 4
Issue 4
Start page e5248-1
End page e5248-6
Total pages 6
Editor C. Surridge
Place of publication San Francisco, CA, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Collection year 2010
Language eng
Subject C1
970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
110603 Motor Control
1702 Cognitive Sciences
Formatted abstract Background

When we move along in time with a piece of music, we synchronise the downward phase of our gesture with the beat. While it is easy to demonstrate this tendency, there is considerable debate as to its neural origins. It may have a structural basis, whereby the gravitational field acts as an orientation reference that biases the formulation of motor commands. Alternatively, it may be functional, and related to the economy with which motion assisted by gravity can be generated by the motor system.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We used a robotic system to generate a mathematical model of the gravitational forces acting upon the hand, and then to reverse the effect of gravity, and invert the weight of the limb. In these circumstances, patterns of coordination in which the upward phase of rhythmic hand movements coincided with the beat of a metronome were more stable than those in which downward movements were made on the beat. When a normal gravitational force was present, movements made down-on-the-beat were more stable than those made up-on-the-beat.

Conclusions/Significance

The ubiquitous tendency to make a downward movement on a musical beat arises not from the perception of gravity, but as a result of the economy of action that derives from its exploitation.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Human Movement Studies Publications
School of Psychology Publications
 
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Created: Wed, 25 Nov 2009, 12:02:36 EST by Deborah Noon on behalf of School of Human Movement Studies