Human Trajectory Formation: Taxonomy of Movement Based on Phase Flow Topology

  • Raoul Huys
  • Viktor K. Jirsa
  • Breanna E. Studenka
  • Nicole Rheaume
  • Howard N. Zelaznik
Part of the Understanding Complex Systems book series (UCS)


The notion that a limited number of ‘motor primitives’ underwrites complex (human) movements is pertinent to various theoretical perspectives on motor control. Consequently, motor primitives have been classified according to different (and often empirically driven) criteria. Departing from the perspective that dynamical systems are unambiguously described in phase space, we propose a movement taxonomy based on phase flow topology. We denote qualitative distinct movement classes as normal forms of movement. The existence of two normal forms of movement governing discrete and rhythmic behavior has been debated repeatedly in the literature. We provide evidence testifying to the existence (and utilization by humans) of both normal forms through a computational analysis and an experimental study involving human participants. We furthermore argue that one other dynamic possibility governing movement likely exists.


Normal Form Smooth Pursuit Dynamical System Theory Discrete Movement False Start 
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 Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raoul Huys
    • 1
  • Viktor K. Jirsa
    • 1
  • Breanna E. Studenka
    • 2
  • Nicole Rheaume
    • 2
  • Howard N. Zelaznik
    • 2
  1. 1.Theoretical Neuroscience Group, UMR 6152 Institut Mouvement et PerceptionUniversité de la Méditerranée and CNRSMarseille, Cedex 09France
  2. 2.Health and KinesiologyPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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