Biological Cybernetics

, Volume 70, Issue 6, pp 513–524 | Cite as

The use of an internal representation in fast goal-directed movements: a modelling approach

  • V. G. J. Gerdes
  • R. Happee


This study investigates the role of the human central nervous system (CNS) in the control of fast goaldirected movements. The main problem is that the latencies inherent in the transmission of physiological signals cause a delayed feedback of sensory information. Therefore, the muscle command signals cannot be explained by a simple servo-loop, so a more sophisticated control structure is required. Our hypothesis is that the CNS employs an internal representation of the controlled system in order to circumvent the drawbacks of the physiological loop delay. To test this hypothesis a mathematical model based on an internal representation and an internal state feedback has been developed. Computer simulations of double-step stimuli (control behaviour), tendon vibration and torque disturbances (disturbance behaviour) and load perturbations (adaptation behaviour) proved to agree remarkably well with experimental observations. The proposed control model can explain the open-loop and closed-loop aspects of human motor control. Hence, the use of an internal representation in generating the muscle command signals is very plausible.


Torque Motor Control Internal Representation Control Model State Feedback 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. G. J. Gerdes
    • 1
  • R. Happee
    • 1
  1. 1.Man-Machine-Systems GroupDelft University of Technology, Department of Mechanical Engineering & Marine TechnologyCD DelftThe Netherlands

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