Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 13, Iss. 1, January, 2009, pp. 27-55
@2009 Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences


Dynamics of Multi-Articular Coordination in Neurobiological Systems

Jia Yi Chow, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Keith Davids, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
Chris Button, University of Otago, New Zealand
Robert Rein, Ecole des Haute Etudes en Sciences Sociale, Paris, France
Robert Hristovski, University of St. Cyril and Methodius, Republic of Macedonia
Michael Koh, Republic Polytechnic, Singapore

Abstract: Although previous work in nonlinear dynamics on neurobiological coordination and control has provided valuable insights from studies of single joint movements in humans, researchers have shown increasing interest in coordination of multi-articular actions. Multi-articular movement models have provided valuable insights on neurobiological systems conceptualised as degenerate, adaptive complex systems satisfying the constraints of dynamic environments. In this paper, we overview empirical evidence illustrating the dynamics of adaptive movement behavior in a range of multi-articular actions including kicking, throwing, hitting and balancing. We model the emergence of creativity and the diversity of neurobiological action in the meta-stable region of self organising criticality. We examine the influence on multi-articular actions of decaying and emerging constraints in the context of skill acquisition. We demonstrate how, in this context, transitions between preferred movement patterns exemplify the search for and adaptation of attractor states within the perceptual motor workspace as a function of practice. We conclude by showing how empirical analyses of neurobiological coordination and control have been used to establish a nonlinear pedagogical framework for enhancing acquisition of multi-articular actions.

Keywords: perception, psychomotor skill, attractor, degeneracy, coordination