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Friedman, J., Amiaz, A., & Korman, M. (2022). The online and offline effects of changing movement timing variability during training on a finger-opposition task. Sci Rep, 12(1), 13319.
Abstract: In motor learning tasks, there is mixed evidence for whether increased task-relevant variability in early learning stages leads to improved outcomes. One problem is that there may be a connection between skill level and motor variability, such that participants who initially have more variability may also perform worse on the task, so will have more room to improve. To avoid this confound, we experimentally manipulated the amount of movement timing variability (MTV) during training to test whether it improves performance. Based on previous studies showing that most of the improvement in finger-opposition tasks comes from optimizing the relative onset time of the finger movements, we used auditory cues (beeps) to guide the onset times of sequential movements during a training session, and then assessed motor performance after the intervention. Participants were assigned to three groups that either: (a) followed a prescribed random rhythm for their finger touches (Variable MTV), (b) followed a fixed rhythm (Fixed control MTV), or (c) produced the entire sequence following a single beep (Unsupervised control MTV). While the intervention was successful in increasing MTV during training for the Variable group, it did not lead to improved outcomes post-training compared to either control group, and the use of fixed timing led to significantly worse performance compared to the Unsupervised control group. These results suggest that manipulating MTV through auditory cues does not produce greater learning than unconstrained training in motor sequence tasks.
Keywords: Fingers; Humans; *Learning; *Motor Skills; Movement; Psychomotor Performance; Upper Extremity
Frenkel-Toledo, S., Yamanaka, J., Friedman, J., Feldman, A. G., & Levin, M. F. (2019). Referent control of anticipatory grip force during reaching in stroke: an experimental and modeling study. Exp Brain Res, 237(7), 1655–1672.
Abstract: To evaluate normal and impaired control of anticipatory grip force (GF) modulation, we compared GF production during horizontal arm movements in healthy and post-stroke subjects, and, based on a physiologically feasible dynamic model, determined referent control variables underlying the GF-arm motion coordination in each group. 63% of 13 healthy and 48% of 13 stroke subjects produced low sustained initial force (< 10 N) and increased GF prior to arm movement. Movement-related GF increases were higher during fast compared to self-paced arm extension movements only in the healthy group. Differences in the patterns of anticipatory GF increases before the arm movement onset between groups occurred during fast extension arm movement only. In the stroke group, longer delays between the onset of GF change and elbow motion were related to clinical upper limb deficits. Simulations showed that GFs could emerge from the difference between the actual and the referent hand aperture (Ra) specified by the CNS. Similarly, arm movement could result from changes in the referent elbow position (Re) and could be affected by the co-activation (C) command. A subgroup of stroke subjects, who increased GF before arm movement, could specify different patterns of the referent variables while reproducing the healthy typical pattern of GF-arm coordination. Stroke subjects, who increased GF after arm movement onset, also used different referent strategies than controls. Thus, altered anticipatory GF behavior in stroke subjects may be explained by deficits in referent control.
Keywords: Anticipatory grip force; Referent control; Stroke
Ezrati, O., Friedman, J., & Dar, R. (2019). Attenuation of access to internal states in high obsessive-compulsive individuals might increase susceptibility to false feedback: Evidence from a visuo-motor hand-reaching task. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 65, 101445.
Abstract: Background and objectives
The Seeking Proxies for Internal States (SPIS) model of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) posits that obsessive-compulsive (OC) individuals have attenuated access to their internal states. Hence, they seek and rely on proxies, or discernible substitutes for these internal states. In previous studies, participants with high OC tendencies and OCD patients, compared to controls, showed increased reliance on external proxies and were more influenced by false feedback when judging their internal states. This study is the first to examine the effects of false feedback on performance of hand movements in participants with high and low OC tendencies.
Thirty-four participants with high OC tendencies and 34 participants with low OC tendencies were asked to perform accurate hand reaches without visual feedback in two separate sessions of a computerized hand-reaching task: once after valid feedback training of their hand location and once with false-rotated feedback. We assessed the accuracy and directional adaptation of participants' reaches.
As predicted, high OC participants evidenced a larger decrease in their hand positioning accuracy after training with false feedback compared to low OC participants.
The generalization of our findings to OCD requires replication with a clinical sample.
These results suggest that in addition to self-perceptions, motor performance of OC individuals is prone to be overly influenced by false feedback, possibly due to attenuated access to proprioceptive cues. These findings may be particularly relevant to understanding the distorted sense of agency in OCD.
Keywords: Obsessive-compulsive disorder; Movement; Agency; Proprioception; Proxies
Dempsey-Jones, H., Wesselink, D. B., Friedman, J., & Makin, T. R. (2019). Organized Toe Maps in Extreme Foot Users. Cell Reports, 28(11), 2748–2756.e4.
Abstract: Although the fine-grained features of topographic maps in the somatosensory cortex can be shaped by everyday experience, it is unknown whether behavior can support the expression of somatotopic maps where they do not typically occur. Unlike the fingers, represented in all primates, individuated toe maps have only been found in non-human primates. Using 1-mm resolution fMRI, we identify organized toe maps in two individuals born without either upper limb who use their feet to substitute missing hand function and even support their profession as foot artists. We demonstrate that the ordering and structure of the artists’ toe representation mimics typical hand representation. We further reveal “hand-like” features of activity patterns, not only in the foot area but also similarly in the missing hand area. We suggest humans may have an innate capacity for forming additional topographic maps that can be expressed with appropriate experience.
|Cantergi, D., Awasthi, B., & Friedman, J. (2021). Moving objects by imagination? Amount of finger movement and pendulum length determine success in the Chevreul pendulum illusion. Human Movement Science, 80, 102879.|