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Fri, Dec 16

'Meet the SMPP faculty' series
A social of SMPP involving a "MEET THE" series with 6 of our SMPP faculty members.
Refreshments will be served!
Speaker: Paul Wanda, Ph.D. (Department of Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in Saint Louis)

Title: The effect of movement observation on motor adaptation to novel force perturbations

Abstract: People routinely learn and refine new motor behaviors through both physical practice and the observation of others. In some cases, gains in performance or skill acquisition might be better achieved with demonstration and study than through self-driven trial-and-error exploration alone. Recent studies have suggested that people can not only learn high-level motor concepts ("what to do") from observation, but can also capture information about the haptic environment that influences subsequent execution. Here, I will present and discuss findings from two studies in which I further identified how movement observation influences behavior.
First, I aimed to determine the relationship between adaptation and sensory experience during action and observation. I newly designed and implemented an experimental paradigm in which movement and observation were interleaved, while varying the strength of haptic perturbations trial-to-trial. Surprisingly, I found that while the incremental adaptive response following observation was similar in magnitude to the response following action, the observation-driven response was not similarly corrective with respect to real-valued sensory signals.
Second, I newly determined whether movement observation produced a compensatory adaptation of reach dynamics in the observer, and whether such an adaptation might be stimulus-specific. Using the force channel technique, I quantified changes in motor output in naive observers following extended observation of movements perturbed by either aposition- or velocity-dependent force field, and modeled the learned dependence of motor output on movement state. I found that changes in reach dynamics were modest, but compensatory, for the observed environment and reflected a learned scaling of stimulus-appropriate kinematic signals.
Host: Dr. Kording