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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.
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.
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.
Kaufman-Cohen, Y., Portnoy, S., Levanon, Y., & Friedman, J. (2019). Does Object Height Affect the Dart Throwing Motion Angle during Seated Activities of Daily Living? J Mot Behav, , 1–10.
Abstract: Complex wrist motions are needed to complete various daily activities. Analyzing the multidimensional motion of the wrist is crucial for understanding our functional movement. Several studies have shown that numerous activities of daily livings (ADLs) are performed using an oblique plane of wrist motion from radial-extension to ulnar-flexion, named the Dart Throwing Motion (DTM) plane. To the best of our knowledge, the DTM plane angle performed during ADLs has not been compared between different heights (e.g. table, shoulder and head height), as is common when performing day-to-day tasks. In this study, we compared DTM plane angles when performing different ADLs at three different heights and examined the relationship between DTM plane angles and limb position. We found that height had a significant effect on the DTM plane angles – the mean DTM plane angle was greater at the lower level compared to the mid and higher levels. A significant effect of shoulder orientation on mean DTM plane angles was shown in the sagittal and coronal planes. Our findings support the importance of training daily tasks at different heights during rehabilitation following wrist injuries, in order to explore a large range of DTM angles, to accommodate needs of common ADLs.
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.