Optimization and variability of motor behavior in multifinger tasks: What variables does the brain use?

Joel R. Martin, Alexander V. Terekhov, Mark L. Latash, Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The neural control of movement has been described using different sets of elemental variables. Two possible sets of elemental variables have been suggested for finger pressing tasks: the forces of individual fingers and the finger commands (also called finger modes or central commands). The authors analyzed which of the 2 sets of the elemental variables is more likely used in the optimization of the finger force sharing and which set is used for the stabilization of performance. They used two recently developed techniques-the analytical inverse optimization (ANIO) and the uncontrolled manifold (UCM) analysis-to evaluate each set of elemental variables with respect to both aspects of performance. The results of the UCM analysis favored the finger commands as the elemental variables used for performance stabilization, while ANIO worked equally well on both sets of elemental variables. A simple scheme is suggested as to how the CNS could optimize a cost function dependent on the finger forces, but for the sake of facilitation of the feed forward control it substitutes the original cost function by a cost function, which is convenient to optimize in the space of finger commands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-305
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of motor behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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