Inter-joint coupling strategy during adaptation to novel viscous loads in human arm movement

Journal of Neurophysiology
Derek B Debicki, Paul L Gribble


When arm movements are perturbed by a load, how does the nervous system adjust control signals to reduce error? While it has been shown that the nervous system is capable of compensating for the effects of limb dynamics and external forces, the strategies used to adapt to novel loads are not well understood. We used a robotic exoskeleton [kinesiological instrument for normal and altered reaching movements (KINARM)] to apply novel loads to the arm during single-joint elbow flexions in the horizontal plane (shoulder rotation was allowed). Loads varied in magnitude with the instantaneous velocity of elbow flexion, and were applied to the shoulder in experiment 1 (interaction loads) and the elbow in experiment 2 (direct loads). Initial exposure to both interaction and direct loads resulted in perturbations at both joints, even though the load was applied to only a single joint. Subjects tended to correct for the kinematics of the elbow joint while perturbations at the shoulder persisted. Electromyograms (EMGs) and computed muscle torque showed that subjects modified muscle activity at the elbow to reduce elbow positional deviations. Shoulder muscle activity was also modified; however, these changes were always in the same direction...Continue Reading


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Related Concepts

Adaptation, Physiological
Upper Arm
Elbow Joint Structure
Surface Electromyography
Joint Structure of Shoulder Region

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