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Salzer, Y., & Friedman, J. (2020). Reaching trajectories unravel modality-dependent temporal dynamics of the automatic process in the Simon task: a model-based approach. Psychol Res, 84(6), 1700–1713.
Abstract: The Simon effect represents a phenomenon in which the location of the stimuli affects the speed and accuracy of the response, despite being irrelevant for the task demands. This is believed to be due to an automatic activation of a response corresponding to the location of the stimuli, which conflicts with the controlled decision process based on relevant stimuli features. Previously, differences in the nature of the Simon effect (i.e., the pattern of change of the effect across the distribution of response times) between visual and somatosensory stimuli were reported. We hypothesize that the temporal dynamics of visual and somatosensory automatic and controlled processes vary, thus driving the reported behavioral differences. While most studies have used response times to study the underlying mechanisms involved, in this study we had participants reach out to touch the targets and recorded their arm movements using a motion capture system. Importantly, the participants started their movements before a final decision was made. In this way, we could analyze the movements to gain insights into the competition between the automatic and controlled processes. We used this technique to describe the results in terms of a model assuming automatic activation due to location-based evidence, followed by inhibition. We found that for the somatosensory Simon effect, the decay of the automatic process is significantly slower than for the visual Simon effect, suggesting quantitative differences in this automatic process between the visual and somatosensory modalities.
Friedman, J., & Korman, M. (2012). Kinematic Strategies Underlying Improvement in the Acquisition of a Sequential Finger Task with Self-Generated vs. Cued Repetition Training. PLoS One, 7(12), e52063.
Abstract: Many motor skills, such as typing, consist of articulating simple movements into novel sequences that are executed faster and smoother with practice. Dynamics of re-organization of these movement sequences with multi-session training and its dependence on the amount of self-regulation of pace during training is not yet fully understood. In this study, participants practiced a sequence of key presses. Training sessions consisted of either externally (Cued) or self-initiated (Uncued) training. Long-term improvements in performance speed were mainly due to reducing gaps between finger movements in both groups, but Uncued training induced higher gains. The underlying kinematic strategies producing these changes and the representation of the trained sequence differed significantly across subjects, although net gains in speed were similar. The differences in long-term memory due to the type of training and the variation in strategies between subjects, suggest that the different neural mechanisms may subserve the improvements observed in overall performance.
Prushansky, T., Kaplan-Gadasi, L., & Friedman, J. (2023). The relationship between thoracic posture and ultrasound echo intensity of muscles spanning this region in healthy men and women. Physiother Theory Pract, 39(6), 1257–1265.
Abstract: PURPOSE: Skeletal muscle echogenicity intensity (EI) is considered a measure of muscle quality, being associated with old age and pathologies. Whether EI variations can be identified in healthy adults, due to habitual shortened or elongated muscle position is unknown. Thus, this study aimed to assess the relationship between thoracic kyphosis angulation and EI scores of muscles spanning this region ((Lower Trapezius (LT), Rhomboid Major (RM), Erector Spine (ES)) in healthy young people and in addition to examine the relationship between the change in thoracic kyphosis angle from relaxed to upright position (â�� degrees ) and the EI of these muscles. METHODS: Thoracic kyphosis in relaxed and erect standing was measured using a digital inclinometer in 29 healthy adults (16 women, 13 men), aged 25-35 years. The thoracic kyphosis angles including the difference between relaxed and erect postures (â�� degrees ) were correlated to the EI scores of right and left LT, RM and ES. RESULTS: No significant differences in EI were found between the 3 muscles EI or between sides, hence they were pooled together to a total thoracic EI score (TTEI). Although the TTEI did not correlate with relaxed or erect thoracic kyphosis, it was significantly but negatively correlated with â�� degrees in the entire group: Pearson's correlation coefficient of r = -0.544; p = .01 and in men; r = -0.732; p = .01, failing to reach significance in women; r = -0.457. CONCLUSION: The negative association between the EI of the explored muscles and â�� degrees could imply a possible relationship between these muscles range of movement excursions and their composition.
Awasthi, B., Williams, M. A., & Friedman, J. (2016). Examining the role of red background in magnocellular contribution to face perception. PeerJ, 4, e1617.
Abstract: This study examines the role of the magnocellular system in the early stages of face perception, in particular sex categorization. Utilizing the specific property of magnocellular suppression in red light, we investigated visually guided reaching to low and high spatial frequency hybrid faces against red and grey backgrounds. The arm movement curvature measure shows that reduced response of the magnocellular pathway interferes with the low spatial frequency component of face perception. This finding provides behavioral evidence for magnocellular contribution to non-emotional aspect of face perception.
Friedman, J., Raveh, E., Weiss, T., Itkin, S., Niv, D., Hani, M., et al. (2019). Applying Incongruent Visual-Tactile Stimuli during Object Transfer with Vibro-Tactile Feedback (Vol. 147).
Abstract: The application of incongruent sensory signals that involves disrupted tactile feedback is rarely explored, specifically with the presence of vibrotactile feedback (VTF). This protocol aims to test the effect of VTF on the response to incongruent visual-tactile stimuli. The tactile feedback is acquired by grasping a block and moving it across a partition. The visual feedback is a real-time virtual presentation of the moving block, acquired using a motion capture system. The congruent feedback is the reliable presentation of the movement of the block, so that the subject feels that the block is grasped and see it move along with the path of the hand. The incongruent feedback appears as the movement of the block diverts from the actual movement path, so that it seems to drop from the hand when it is actually still held by the subject, thereby contradicting the tactile feedback. Twenty subjects (age 30.2 +/- 16.3) repeated 16 block transfers, while their hand was hidden. These were repeated with VTF and without VTF (total of 32 block transfers). Incongruent stimuli were presented randomly twice within the 16 repetitions in each condition (with and without VTF). Each subject was asked to rate the difficulty level of performing the task with and without the VTF. There were no statistically significant differences in the length of the hand paths and durations between transfers recorded with congruent and incongruent visual-tactile signals – with and without the VTF. The perceived difficulty level of performing the task with the VTF significantly correlated with the normalized path length of the block with VTF (r = 0.675, p = 0.002). This setup is used to quantify the additive or reductive value of VTF during motor function that involves incongruent visual-tactile stimuli. Possible applications are prosthetics design, smart sport-wear, or any other garments that incorporate VTF.