Learning to stand with unexpected sensorimotor delays

Congratulations to cluster researchers Drs. Patrick Forbes, Timothy Inglis, Romeo Chua, and Jean-Sébastien Blouin, along with Brandon Rasman, Ryan Peters, Oscar Ortiz, and Ian Franks on their recent publication:

"Learning to stand with unexpected sensorimotor delays".

Human standing balance relies on self-motion estimates that are used by the nervous system to detect unexpected movements and enable corrective responses and adaptations in control. These estimates must accommodate for inherent delays in sensory and motor pathways.

The team used a robotic system to simulate human standing about the ankles in the anteroposterior direction and impose sensorimotor delays into the control of balance.

Imposed delays destabilized standing, but through training, participants adapted and re-learned to balance with the delays. Before training, imposed delays attenuated vestibular contributions to balance and triggered perceptions of unexpected standing motion, suggesting increased uncertainty in the internal self-motion estimates. After training, vestibular contributions partially returned to baseline levels and larger delays were needed to evoke perceptions of unexpected standing motion.

Through learning, the nervous system accommodates balance sensorimotor delays by causally linking whole-body sensory feedback (initially interpreted as imposed motion) to self-generated balance motor commands.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021