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Object Avoidance During Locomotion

  • David A. McVea
  • Keir G. Pearson
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 629)

Abstract

Many animals rely on vision for navigating through complex environments and for avoiding specific obstacles during locomotion. Navigation and obstacle avoidance are tasks that depend on gathering information about the environment by vision and using this information at later times to guide limb and body movements. Here we review studies demonstrating the use of short-term visual memory during walking in humans and cats. Our own investigations have demonstrated that cats have the ability to retain a memory of an obstacle they have stepped over with the forelegs for many minutes and to use this memory to guide stepping of the hindlegs to avoid the remembered obstacle. A brain region that may be critically involved in the retention of memories of the location of obstacles is the posterior parietal cortex. Recordings from neurons in area 5 in the posterior parietal cortex in freely walking cats have revealed the existence of neurons whose activity is strongly correlated with the location of an obstacle relative to the body. How these neurons might be used to regulate motor commands remains to be established. We believe that studies on obstacle avoidance in walking cats have the potential to significantly advance our understanding of visuo-motor transformations. Current knowledge about the brain regions and pathways underlying visuo-motor transformations during walking are reviewed.

Keywords

Visual Information Motor Cortex Visual Feedback Optic Flow Visual Input 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physiology and Centre for NeuroscienceUniversity of AlbertaEdmonton ABCanada

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