JACIII Vol.15 No.8 pp. 942-953
doi: 10.20965/jaciii.2011.p0942


Neurophysiological and Dynamical Control Principles Underlying Variable and Stereotyped Movement Patterns During Motor Skill Acquisition

Kazutoshi Kudo*1, Makoto Miyazaki*2, Hirofumi Sekiguchi*3,
Hiroshi Kadota*4, Shinya Fujii*4,*5, Akito Miura*1,*5,
Michiko Yoshie*1,*5,*6, and Hiroki Nakata*7

*1Department of Life Sciences, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo, 3-8-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8902, Japan

*2Research Institute of Kochi University of Technology, 185 Miyanokuchi, Tosayamada, Kochi 782-8502, Japan

*3Faculty of Business and Information Sciences, Jobu University

*4Division of Physical and Health Education, Graduate School of Education, The University of Tokyo

*5Japan Society for the Promotion of Science

*6Clinical Imaging Sciences Centre, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex

*7Faculty of Sport Sciences, Waseda University

February 20, 2011
June 21, 2011
October 20, 2011
human motor skill, learning, neuroscience, dynamical systems approach, novices and experts

While novices who are unfamiliar to a new motor skill typically show variable and unstable movements, highly skilled experts show a stable and accurate performance. These distinct differences in motor control between experts and novices have led researchers to hypothesize that neuromotor noise is reduced in the process of motor skill acquisition. On the other hand, it should be noted that novices’ movements have other characteristics; they are habituated and stereotyped. In this review, we discuss the principles governing spatiotemporal organization of movements in novices and experts while solving specific motor problems under varied conditions, by introducing experimental and theoretical studies that use neurophysiological techniques such as electromyography, functional magnetic resonance imaging, and transcranial magnetic stimulation, and mathematical models such as stochastic and dynamical models. On the basis of the findings from a variety of perceptual-motor skills (e.g., ballthrowing, badminton smash, long-distance running, piano and drum performance, street dance, a popular hand game of rock-paper-scissors, and temporal order judgement task), we argue that the novices’ characteristic movement patterns were organized under specific constraints and typical strategy, without which the variability would increase even more, while experts’ movements were organized with functional and compensatory variability that can drive out erroneous noise variability. We also showed that in a particular type of interlimb coordination, skilled and unskilled movement patterns could be seamlessly described as the time evolution of nonlinear and self-organized dynamical systems, suggesting that the dynamical systems approach is a major candidate for understanding the principle underlying organization of experts’ and novices’ movements.

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