Control mechanisms in oscillatory motor behavior

Davide Piovesan, Felix Huang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


Studies on unimpaired humans have demonstrated that the central nervous system employs internal representations of limb dynamics and intended movement trajectories for planning muscle activation during pointing and reaching tasks. However, when performing rhythmic movements, it has been hypothesized that a control scheme employing an autonomous oscillator-a simple feedback circuit lacking exogenous input- can maintain stable control. Here we investigate whether such simple control architectures that can realize rhythmic movement that we observe in experimental data. We asked subjects to perform rhythmic movements of the forearm while a robotic interface simulated inertial loading. Our protocol included unexpected increases in loading (catch trials) as a probe to reveal any systematic changes in frequency and amplitude. Our primary findings were that increased inertial loading resulted in reduced frequency of oscillations, and in some cases multiple frequencies. These results exhibit some agreement with an autonomous oscillator model, though other features are more consistent with feedforward planning of force. This investigation provides a theoretical and experimental framework to reveal basic computational elements for how the human motor system achieves skilled rhythmic movement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBiomedical and Biotechnology Engineering
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
Volume3 B
ISBN (Print)9780791856222
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
EventASME 2013 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE 2013 - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Nov 15 2013Nov 21 2013


OtherASME 2013 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Control mechanisms in oscillatory motor behavior'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this