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  • FRONTIERS IN HUMAN NEUROSCIENCE
Date Range
2013 2015

Many upper limb amputees experience an incessant, post-amputation “phantom limb pain” and report that their missing limbs feel paralyzed in an uncomfortable posture. One hypothesis is that efferent commands no longer generate expected afferent signals, such as proprioceptive feedback from changes in limb configuration, and that the mismatch of motor commands and visual feedback is interpreted as pain. Non-invasive therapeutic techniques for treating phantom limb pain, such as mirror visual feedback (MVF), rely on visualizations of postural changes. Advances in neural interfaces for artificial sensory feedback now make it possible to combine MVF with a high-tech “rubber hand” illusion, in ...

Contributors
Hellman, Randall, Chang, Eric, Tanner, Justin, et al.
Created Date
2015-02-19

Sensorimotor control theories propose that the central nervous system exploits expected sensory consequences generated by motor commands for movement planning, as well as online sensory feedback for comparison with expected sensory feedback for monitoring and correcting, if needed, ongoing motor output. In our study, we tested this theoretical framework by quantifying the functional role of expected vs. actual proprioceptive feedback for planning and regulation of gait in humans. We addressed this question by using a novel methodological approach to deliver fast perturbations of the walking surface stiffness, in conjunction with a virtual reality system that provided visual feedback of upcoming ...

Contributors
Frost, Ryan, Skidmore, Jeffrey, Santello, Marco, et al.
Created Date
2015-02-09

The intact nervous system has an exquisite ability to modulate the activity of multiple muscles acting at one or more joints to produce an enormous range of actions. Seemingly simple tasks, such as reaching for an object or walking, in fact rely on very complex spatial and temporal patterns of muscle activations. Neurological disorders such as stroke and focal dystonia affect the ability to coordinate multi-joint movements. This article reviews the state of the art of research of muscle synergies in the intact and damaged nervous system, their implications for recovery and rehabilitation, and proposes avenues for research aimed at ...

Contributors
Santello, Marco, Lang, Catherine E., Arizona State University. School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering. Neural Control of Movement Laboratory
Created Date
2015-01-06

Human populations differ reliably in the degree to which people favor family, friends, and community members over strangers and outsiders. In the last decade, researchers have begun to propose several economic and evolutionary hypotheses for these cross-population differences in parochialism. In this paper, we outline major current theories and review recent attempts to test them. We also discuss the key methodological challenges in assessing these diverse economic and evolutionary theories for cross-population differences in parochialism.

Contributors
Hruschka, Daniel, Henrich, Joseph, Arizona State University. School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Created Date
2013-09-11

Humans are able to modulate digit forces as a function of position despite changes in digit placement that might occur from trial to trial or when changing grip type for object manipulation. Although this phenomenon is likely to rely on sensing the position of the digits relative to each other and the object, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. To address this question, we asked subjects (n = 30) to match perceived vertical distance between the center of pressure (CoP) of the thumb and index finger pads (d[subscript y]) of the right hand (“reference” hand) using the same hand (“test” hand). ...

Contributors
Shibata, Daisuke, Kappers, Astrid M. L., Santello, Marco, et al.
Created Date
2014-08-04

We tested the hypothesis that motor planning and programming of speech articulation and verbal short-term memory (vSTM) depend on partially overlapping networks of neural regions. We evaluated this proposal by testing 76 individuals with acute ischemic stroke for impairment in motor planning of speech articulation (apraxia of speech, AOS) and vSTM in the first day of stroke, before the opportunity for recovery or reorganization of structure-function relationships. We also evaluated areas of both infarct and low blood flow that might have contributed to AOS or impaired vSTM in each person. We found that AOS was associated with tissue dysfunction in ...

Contributors
Hickok, Gregory, Rogalsky, Corianne, Chen, Rong, et al.
Created Date
2014-08-25

Is the mirror neuron system (MNS) used in language understanding? According to embodied accounts of language comprehension, understanding sentences describing actions makes use of neural mechanisms of action control, including the MNS. Consequently, repeatedly comprehending sentences describing similar actions should induce adaptation of the MNS thereby warping its use in other cognitive processes such as action recognition and prediction. To test this prediction, participants read blocks of multiple sentences where each sentence in the block described transfer of objects in a direction away or toward the reader. Following each block, adaptation was measured by having participants predict the end-point of ...

Contributors
Zarr, Noah, Ferguson, Ryan, Glenberg, Arthur, et al.
Created Date
2013-12-17