Proprioceptive Afferent Information and Movement Control

  • Jerome N. Sanes
Part of the Readings from the Encyclopedia of Neuroscience book series (REN)


At least since the advent of motor psychophysics in the 1890s, there has been considerable interest in the role of proprioceptive information in motor control, and whether different classes of movements use such information in fundamentally distinct ways. In his classic 1899 monograph, Woodworm had some difficulty distinguishing between the contribution of exteroceptive and proprioceptive inputs to motor control. He noted that “any sense whatever may conceivably serve as the sensory basis for controlling the extent of a movement.” However, it is apparent from Woodworm’s discussions that muscular sense is one of the more important senses that humans use for movement control. Despite a wealth of clinical and experimental observations indicating the general significance of proprioceptors (i.e., muscle spindles, Golgi tendon organs, and tactile afferents) in motor performance, there remains some doubt about the exact contribution of these receptors to movement. That is, do certain classes of afferents contribute special regulation to certain movements?


Motor Control Proprioceptive Input Golgi Tendon Organ Motor Unit Discharge Motor Unit Discharge Rate 
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.

Further reading

  1. Desmedt JE, Godaux E (1978): Ballistic skilled movements: load compensation and patterning of the motor commands. In: Cerebral Motor Control in Man: Long Loop Mechanisms, Desmedt JE, ed. Prog Clin Neurophysiol Basel: Karger 4:22–55Google Scholar
  2. Rothwell JC, Traub MM, Day BL, Obeso JA, Thomas PK, Marsden CD (1982): Manual motor performance in a deafferented man. Brain 105:515–542CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Sanes JN, Evarts EV (1983): The regulatory role of proprioceptive input in motor control of phasic or maintained voluntary contractions in man. In: Motor Control Mechanisms in Health and Disease, Desmedt JE, ed. Adv Neurol New York: Raven Press 39:47–59Google Scholar
  4. Sanes JN, Jennings VA (1984): Centrally programmed patterns of muscle activity in voluntary motor behavior of humans. Exp Brain Res 54:23–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Sanes JN, Mauritz, K-H, Dalakas MC, Evarts EV (1985): Motor control in humans with large-fiber sensory neuropathy. Human Neu-robiol 4:101–114Google Scholar
  6. Woodworm RS (1899): The accuracy of voluntary movement. Psychol Rev 3:1–114Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Boston, Inc. 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jerome N. Sanes

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations