Organization in the Sensorimotor Interface: A Case Study with Increased Resolution

  • Paul Grobstein

Abstract

Recent studies on the neuronal organization underlying prey orienting behavior in the frog, Rana pipiens, are reviewed and discussed in the context of more general consideration of the information processing characterstics and nervous system structures involved in the production of directed movements. It is suggested that directed movements in general depend on “activity gated divergence,” a property of some neuronal networks which allows them to associate with a given topographically specified sensory input any of a number of outputs, depending on the character of other relevant neuronal signals. It is further suggested that two important information processing steps occur between midbrain sensory maps involved in directed movement and the actual motor output pattern. The first of these involves the production of a signal related to stimulus location in an abstract coordinate frame, one closely related neither to sensory surfaces nor to movement parameters. The second involves the selection of the particular movement to be generated and the creation of the appropriate motoneuron discharge patterns. The first transformation seems to occur in the ventral midbrain, and the latter in the spinal cord. Both transformations are likely to involve an interaction between signals derived from the initial topographically specified sensory input and signals representing other relevant information, and hence both transformations probably contribute to the overall activity gated divergent character of the network involved in directed movement. The context-dependent nature of the neuronal signals, together with evidence that autonomous central organization is critical to their interpretation, raises new questions about how signals represented in different coordinate frames are combined, and suggests that reflex theories are ceasing to provide an adequate conceptual framework for the analysis of sensorimotor processing.

Keywords

Stimulus Location Optic Tectum Midsagittal Plane Stimulus Distance Rana Pipiens 
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 New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Grobstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyBryn Mawr CollegeBryn MawrUSA

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