Biological Cybernetics

, Volume 112, Issue 6, pp 509–522 | Cite as

The self-organization of ball bouncing

  • Guillaume AvrinEmail author
  • Isabelle A. Siegler
  • Maria Makarov
  • Pedro Rodriguez-Ayerbe
Original Article


The hybrid rhythmic ball-bouncing task considered in this study requires a participant to hit a ball in a virtual environment by moving a paddle in the real environment. It allows for investigation of the online visual control of action in humans. Changes in gravity acceleration in the virtual environment affect the ball dynamics and modify the ball-paddle system limit cycle. These changes are shown to be accurately reproduced through simulation by a model integrating continuous information–movement couplings between the ball trajectory and the paddle trajectory, giving rise to a resonance-tuning phenomenon. On the contrary, the tested models integrating only intermittent sensorimotor couplings were unable to replicate the observed human behavior. Results suggest that the visual control of action is achieved online, in a prospective way. Human rhythmic motor control would benefit from the timing and phase control emerging from the low-level continuous coupling between the central pattern generator and the visual perception of the ball trajectory. This control strategy, which precludes the need for internal clock and explicit environmental representation, is also able to explain the empirical result that the bounces tend to converge toward a passive stability regime during human ball bouncing.


Ball bouncing Information–movement couplings Neural oscillators Dynamic systems Resonance tuning 

Supplementary material

422_2018_776_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (3 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 3074 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guillaume Avrin
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Isabelle A. Siegler
    • 2
    • 3
  • Maria Makarov
    • 1
  • Pedro Rodriguez-Ayerbe
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire des Signaux et Systèmes (L2S)CentraleSupélec- CNRS- Univ. Paris-Sud, Université Paris-SaclayGif-sur-YvetteFrance
  2. 2.CIAMS, Univ. Paris-Sud, Université Paris-SaclayOrsayFrance
  3. 3.CIAMS, Université d’OrléansOrléansFrance

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