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nasabere's picture

No conductor to this motor symphony?

In class, Professor Grobstein provided the examples of swimmerette movement and human locomotion as a testament to our understanding of CPGs. But, aren't these "patterns" subject to external conditions? If such movements are truly regulated by said "patterns" we should continue walking in situations when it might be advantageous to stand still or hide from a potential predator. It seems to me that there are so many external factors that regulate how and when we walk and I'm having a hard time attributing the variety of animal movement to a fully autonomous "pattern generator." Perhaps the conductor here is the environment??? Or maybe even the I-function (although it is interesting to ponder that if the CPG before the I-function is aware of it) in some instances. Some other variable must account for our ability to produce a wide range of movements.

Interestingly, these circuits are able to foreshadow events to come and don’t necessarily require feedback from the I-function. But at the same time our I-function must have some sort of control over the CPG for locomotion—when my I-function suddenly feels the urge to stop walking and jump up and down for five seconds, my locomotion CPG obeys (or does my I-function obey it?). This all seems so convoluted to me, and for this reason I am not yet able to attribute the human experience to a bunch of mechanized CPGs.

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