Nov 04, 2007
High loads induce differences between actual and imagined movement duration
High loads induce differences between actual and imagined movement duration.
Exp Brain Res. 2007 Nov 1;
Authors: Slifkin AB
Actual and imagined action may be governed by common information and neural processes. This hypothesis has found strong support from a range of chronometric studies showing that it takes the same amount of time to actually move and to imagine moving. However, exceptions have been observed when actual and imagined movements were made under conditions of inertial loading: sometimes the equivalency of actual and imagined movement durations (MDs) has been preserved, and other times it has been disrupted. The purpose of the current study was to test the hypothesis that the appearance and magnitude of actual-imagined MD differences in those studies was dependent on the level of load relative to the maximum loading capacity of the involved effector system [the maximum voluntary load (MVL)]. The experiment required 12 young, healthy humans to actually produce, and to imagine producing, single degree of freedom index finger movements under a range of loads (0, 5, 10, 20, 40, and 80% MVL). As predicted, statistically significant actual-imagined MD differences were absent at lower loads (0-20% MVL), but differences appeared and increased in magnitude with further increases in %MVL (40 and 80% MVL). That pattern of results may relate to the common, everyday experience individuals have in interacting with loads. Participants are likely to have extensive experience interacting with very low loads, but not high loads. It follows that the control of low inertial loads should be governed by complete central representations of action, while representations should be less complete for high loads. A consequence may be increases in the uncertainty of predicting motor output with increases in load. Compensation for the increased uncertainty may appear as increases in the MD values selected during both the preparation and imagery of action-according to a speed-uncertainty trade-off. Then, during actual action, MD may be reduced if movement-related feedback indicates that a faster movement would succeed.