Order parameters for the neural organization of single, multijoint limb movement patterns Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Subjects performed two patterns of coordination between the elbow and wrist joints of the right arm: 1) wrist flexion synchronized with elbow flexion and wrist extension with elbow extension (homologous muscle groups); and 2) wrist extension synchronized with elbow flexion and wrist flexion with elbow extension (nonhomologous muscle groups). As a parameter, cycling frequency, was increased, an abrupt switch in the phase relation between the elbow and wrist joints occurred. Similar effects were observed in underlying neuromuscular (EMG) timing patterns. Observed transitions depended on whether the forearm was prone or supine, not simply on the muscle pairing across the joints. With the forearm supine, transitions were from pattern (2) to pattern (1) above, and with the forearm prone the transitions were from pattern (1) to pattern (2). When subjects were initially prepared in pattern (1) with the forearm supine or in pattern (2) with the forearm prone, switching did not occur. En route to transitions, enhanced fluctuations in the phase relation occurred, indicating that loss of stability is at the origin of pattern change. Accompanying such changes in coordination were characteristic effects on end effector trajectories and velocity profiles. Possible neurophysiological mechanisms for context dependence in multijoint coordination are discussed.

author list (cited authors)

  • Kelso, J., Buchanan, J. J., & Wallace, S. A.

citation count

  • 128

publication date

  • June 1991