Randy Flanagan – Abstract

Coming to grips with motor control

Flanagan R
Queens University, Canada

Skilled motor behaviour relies on our ability to both estimate the motor commands required to achieve desired outcomes and predict the sensory consequences of motor commands. In tasks involving object manipulation, including most of the action tasks we perform on a daily basis, this ability requires storing and recalling memories related to the dynamics of objects (e.g., weight), that specify the mapping between applied force and motion. In this talk I will describe behavioural and neuroimaging studies examining how object weight is represented at both the conceptual and neural levels. I will show that predictons about object weight, which are critical for dexterous manipulation, rely on multiple memory systems. I will also provide evidence showing that regions of the brain generally believed to not be engaged in action—including the ventral visual pathway and the medial temporal lobes—play an important role in representing object weight.