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Cognition, Action, and sensorimotor plasticity


CNES, 2014-2017
Title: Motor learning in a position-dependent gravitational field
Coordinator: Dr. O. White (UMR INSERM 1093, Cognition, Action et Plasticité Sensorimotrice, CAPS)



Motor control studies regularly use robotic devices to perturb the dynamics of a certain task. Other approaches consist in conducting experiments in parabolic flights or in human centrifuges. Close-to-perfect adaptation of motor responses following perturbations are observed in various contexts. In investigations using robots, the sensory system remains unperturbed. When an error arises, it most likely attributes this error to the effector that it sensed altered by a new phenomenon and corrects it. In immersive environments, exposures to a new dynamics occur in a reproducible manner and can eventually be predicted. Here we test whether the adaptation observed in immersive environments is a consequence of the fact gravitoinertial profiles vary over time. A short arm human centrifuge allowed us to design a task in which space and time could be decoupled and that provides different dynamical contexts. Exploiting the well-established grip and load force coordination paradigm, we test the ability of twenty participants to switch between very unusual dynamical contexts generated by rotation of the centrifuge. We observed very good adaptation of grip force overall and participants were able to switch between contexts effortlessly with the exception of subtle adjustments that required more time to settle. The motor system can switch between new stressful dynamical contexts and that this capacity is not a mere consequence of the ability to predict the time course of the upcoming dynamics. This coherent flow of multimodal feedback information born in a homogeneous milieu allows efficient switching between contexts.

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Université de Bourgogne