Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 164, Issue 2, pp 242–249 | Cite as

Proprioceptive feedback in humans expresses motor invariants during writing

  • Frederic AlbertEmail author
  • Edith Ribot-Ciscar
  • Michel Fiocchi
  • Mikael Bergenheim
  • Jean-Pierre Roll
Research Article


Proprioceptive feedback from populations of muscle spindle afferents feeds the brain with information relating to the instantaneous velocity and direction of ongoing movements. In this paper, we investigate whether the invariant relationship between the velocity and curvature of a trajectory, i.e. the two-thirds power law, is reflected in this muscle spindle feedback. Sixty unitary muscle spindle afferents from six ankle muscle groups were recorded using intraneural microelectrodes during imposed “writing-like” movements. The movements had kinematic parameters obeying the two-thirds power law and were imposed so that the tip of the foot followed trajectories forming four different letters and six numbers. The responses of the muscle spindle afferent populations were analysed using the population vector model. The results demonstrate that the neuronal trajectories attained from populations of muscle spindles clearly depict the path and kinematic parameters and express the movement invariants, i.e. the trajectory segmentation into units of action and the two-thirds power law. The central vs peripheral origin of such constraints involved in the motor system is discussed.


Microneurography Muscle spindle afferents Population vector model Two-thirds power law Segmentation Writing movement 



This work was supported by grants from Ministère de la Recherche, ACI Cognitique. The authors warmly thank Professor Paolo Viviani for kind and useful discussions throughout this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frederic Albert
    • 1
    Email author
  • Edith Ribot-Ciscar
    • 1
  • Michel Fiocchi
    • 2
  • Mikael Bergenheim
    • 3
    • 4
  • Jean-Pierre Roll
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Neurobiologie HumaineUMR 6149, Université de Provence CNRSMarseille Cedex 03France
  2. 2.Ecole des Mines de St EtienneCentre microélectronique de Provence G. CharpakGardanneFrance
  3. 3.Center of Musculoskeletal researchUniversity of GävleGvleSweden
  4. 4.Central Hospital KarlstadKarlstadSweden

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