Transformation of vestibular signals for the decisions of hand choice during whole-body motion
until further notice
SourceJournal of Neurophysiology, 121, 6, (2019), pp. 2392-2400
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC SMN
Journal of Neurophysiology
SubjectAction, intention, and motor control
In daily life, we frequently reach to objects while our body is in motion. We have recently shown that body accelerations influence the decision which hand to use for the reach, possibly by modulating the body-centered computations of the expected reach costs. However, head orientation relative to the body was not manipulated, hence it remains unclear whether vestibular signals contribute in their head-based sensory frame or in a transformed body-centered reference frame to these cost calculations. To test this, subjects performed a preferential reaching task to targets at various directions while they were sinusoidally translated along the lateral body axis, with their head either aligned with the body (straight-ahead) or 18° rotated to the left. As a measure of hand preference, we determined the target direction that resulted in equiprobable right/left hand choices. Results show that head orientation affects this balanced target angle when the body is stationary, but does not further modulate hand preference when the body is in motion. Furthermore, reaction and movement times were larger for reaches to the balanced target angle, resembling a competitive selection process, and were modulated by head orientation when the body is stationary. During body translation, reaction and movement times depended on the phase of the motion, but this phase-dependent modulation had no interaction with head orientation. We conclude that the brain transforms vestibular signals to body-centered coordinates at the early stage of reach planning, when the decision of hand choice is computed.
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