Linear combinations of primitives in vertebrate motor control

F. A. Mussa-Ivaldi*, S. F. Giszter, E. Bizzi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

276 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent investigations on the spinalized frog have provided evidence suggesting that the neural circuits in the spinal cord are organized into a number of distinct functional modules. We have investigated the rule that governs the coactivation of two such modules. To this end, we have developed an experimental paradigm that involves the simultaneous stimulation of two sites in the frog's spinal cord and the quantitative comparison of the resulting mechanical response with the summation of the responses obtained from the stimulation of each site. We found that the simultaneous stimulation of two sites leads to the vector summation of the endpoint forces generated by each site separately. This linear behavior is quite remarkable and provides strong support to the view that the central nervous system may generate a wide repertoire of motor behaviors through the vectorial superposition of a few motor primitives stored within the neural circuits in the spinal cord.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7534-7538
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume91
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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