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Roll of the rhythmic component in the proactive control of a human hand


In terms of evolution, the strategy of catching prey would have been an important part of survival in a constantly changing environment. A prediction mechanism would have developed to compensate for any delay in the sensory-motor system. In a previous study, “proactive control” was found, in which the motion of the hands preceded the virtual moving target. These results implied that the positive phase shift of the hand motion represents the proactive nature of the visual-motor control system, which attempts to minimize the brief error in the hand motion when the target changes position unexpectedly. In our study, a visual target moves in circle (13 cm diameter) on a computer screen, and each subject is asked to keep track of the target’s motion by the motion of a cursor. As the frequency of the target increases, a rhythmic component was found in the velocity of the cursor in spite of the fact that the velocity of the target was constant. The generation of a rhythmic component cannot be explained simply as a feedback mechanism for the phase shifts of the target and cursor in a sensory-motor system. Therefore, it implies that the rhythmic component was generated to predict the velocity of the target, which is a feed-forward mechanism in the sensory-motor system. Here, we discuss the generation of the rhythmic component and its roll in the feed-forward mechanism.

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Correspondence to Yoshikatsu Hayashi.

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This work was presented in part and was awarded the Young Author Award at the 14th International Symposium on Artificial Life and Robotics, Oita, Japan, February 5–7, 2009

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Hayashi, Y., Tamura, Y., Sugawara, K. et al. Roll of the rhythmic component in the proactive control of a human hand. Artif Life Robotics 14, 164 (2009).

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Key words

  • Proactive control
  • Rhythmic component
  • Feed-back mechanism
  • Feed-forward mechanism