Combining modules for movement

E. Bizzi*, V. C.K. Cheung, A. d'Avella, P. Saltiel, M. Tresch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

317 Scopus citations


We review experiments supporting the hypothesis that the vertebrate motor system produces movements by combining a small number of units of motor output. Using a variety of approaches such as microstimulation of the spinal cord, NMDA iontophoresis, and an examination of natural behaviors in intact and deafferented animals we have provided evidence for a modular organization of the spinal cord. A module is a functional unit in the spinal cord that generates a specific motor output by imposing a specific pattern of muscle activation. Such an organization might help to simplify the production of movements by reducing the degrees of freedom that need to be specified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-133
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Research Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Factorization algorithms
  • Modular organization
  • Muscle synergies
  • Spinal cord

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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