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Caitlin Jeschke's picture


I am also interested in the relative importance of CPG's v. practice/experience when it comes to behavior.  In class, we have discussed the importance of communication between centers of pattern generation, and also of proprioception, which provides additional feedback to the body.  One advantage that I see of "experience" is that it would allow an organism to become familiar with both the proprioceptic feedback and the corollary discharge associated with a particular "score."  This would enable the organism to sense any unusual sensations (possibly indicating injury) right away, and could also make it more inclined to alter its behavior (make a necessary deviation from the score) if some type of obstacle was encountered. 

Even some of the most common, well-practiced behaviors such as walking in humans (which might be a "centrally-stored pattern" just like flying in birds) become extremely difficult if proprioception is taken away.  One particular incident comes to mind in which I attempted to stand up out of a chair and walk forward, not realizing that one of my legs had fallen asleep, and proceeded to fall flat on my face. 

This makes me wonder what would have happened if some of the baby birds in the experiment we discussed in class had encountered such difficulties (ex: a local anesthetic applied to a portion of one wing or something). I guess this experiment would be difficult to design, as it would require inhibiting proprioception while leaving corollary discharge unaffected.  And I don't know if that's possible.  So, again, it all boils down to the whole "CPG v. reafferent loop" problem which has yet to be resolved.  Anyway, just some thoughts I had. 


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