Estimating the time structure of descending activation that generates movements at different speeds [article]

Rachid Ramadan, Cora Hummert, Jean-Stephane Jokeit, Gregor Schöner
2022 bioRxiv   pre-print
In targeted movements of the hand, descending activation patterns must not only generate muscle activation, but must also adjust spinal reflexes from stabilizing the initial to stabilizing the final postural state. We estimate descending activation patterns that change minimally while generating a targeted movement within a given movement time based on a model of the biomechanics, muscle dynamics, and the stretch reflex. The estimated descending activation patterns predict human movement
more » ... ories quite well. Their temporal structure varies across workspace and with movement speed, from monotonic profiles for slow movements to non-monotonic profiles for fast movements. Descending activation patterns at different speeds thus do not result from a not mere rescaling of invariant templates, but reflect varying needs to compensate for interaction torques and muscle dynamics. The virtual attractor trajectories, on which active muscle torques are zero, lie within reachable workspace and are largely invariant movements when represented in end-effector coordinates. Their temporal structure along movement direction changes from linear ramps to "N-shaped" profiles with increasing movement speed.
doi:10.1101/2022.03.21.485078 fatcat:stto33l5yjfx3ppvkbpp3722tm