Feed-forward control of a redundant motor system

Simon R. Goodman, Mark L. Latash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


We describe a model of feed-forward control of a redundant motor system and validate it using, as examples, tasks of multi-finger force production. The model assumes the existence of two input signals at an upper level of the control hierarchy, related and unrelated to a task variable. Knowledge of the Jacobian of the system is assumed at the level of generation of elemental variables (variables at the level of effectors). Variance at the level of elemental variables is considered as the sum of two components, related and unrelated to variability in the task variable. An index of stabilization of the task variable is similarly introduced as to how it was done in several studies using the framework of the uncontrolled manifold hypothesis. Several phenomena have been simulated including data point distributions corresponding to presence and absence of force-stabilizing synergies in two-finger tasks, changes in synergies with practice, and changes in synergy indices in preparation to a fast action. The model is discussed in comparison to other models of control of multi-element systems based on feedback processes. It shows that patterns of structured variability in the space of elemental variables can result from feed-forward processes. Relations of the model to the equilibrium-point hypothesis are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-280
Number of pages10
JournalBiological Cybernetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Computer Science(all)


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