Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 12, Iss. 2, April, 2008, pp. 163-190
@2008 Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences


Entropy Conservation in the Control of Human Action

S. Lee Hong, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
Karl M. Newell, The Pennsylvania State University

Abstract: The human motor system is highly adaptable with the ability to adjust its movement patterns under constantly changing task and environmental constraints. In this paper we develop the position that the probabilistic nature of human action can be characterized by entropies at the level of the organism, task, and environment. Systematic changes in motor adaptation are characterized as task-organism and environment-organism tradeoffs in entropy. Such compensatory adaptations lead to a view of goal-directed motor control as the product of an underlying conservation of entropy across the task-organism-environment system. The conservation of entropy supports the view that context dependent adaptations in human goal-directed action are guided fundamentally by natural law and provides a novel means of examining human motor behavior.

Keywords: information, entropy, redundancy, motor control, adaptation