Poster F115, Tuesday, March 27, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
Making plans in wonderland: Sensorimotor alterations increase temporal similarity of motor planning and imagery
Rotem Bennet1, Miriam Reiner1; 1Technion
Numerous studies have shown correlations of motor imagery (MI) chronometry with actual movement kinematics, and found strong evidence for the mutual use of similar brain areas and mechanisms. Nevertheless, the neural theory behind this connection is still undetermined, and no kinematic parameter was found to explain the high between-subject variability of MI performance, and to enable reliable prediction of individual MI capacities. In our study we suggest the cerebellar forward-model as a fundamental shared mechanism, through its dual-role in both MI and motor-planning (MP) processes. We conjectured that sensorimotor alteration will intensify the forward-model involvement in MP, and therefore increase MP-MI similarity. In the experiment, two groups of subjects (n=46) performed mental and manual rotation in a highly immersive, motion-captured, virtual environment, while their sensorimotor dynamics were altered by physical-virtual speed modification (x2, and control - x1). Individual mental-rotation, MI, capacities were assessed before and after 3 short blocks of manual-rotation, where MP durations were measured. The results show that sensorimotor alteration of x2 group has indeed extremely increased their MP-MI correlation (r=0.9, p<.0001), significantly more than for the control group (r=0.47), and most prominently for females (r=0.95). In addition, x2 subjects with initially slow MI have gained significantly higher performance improvement (-1.7s) following the physical blocks. Our results point to MP stage as the key MI-prediction motion parameter, and suggest virtual sensorimotor-alteration as a novel methodology to increase MP-MI convergence. These findings may enable accurate and seamless cognitive evaluation, and enhancement, through tracking the kinematics of ongoing natural behavior.
Topic Area: PERCEPTION & ACTION: Motor control