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Modeling the Learning of Biomechanics and Visual Planning for Decision-Making of Motor Actions.

Ignasi Cos 1, 2 Mehdi Khamassi 2, * Benoît Girard 1, 2
* Corresponding author
2 AMAC
ISIR - Institut des Systèmes Intelligents et de Robotique
Abstract : Recent experiments showed that the bio-mechanical ease and end-point stability associated to reaching movements are predicted prior to movement onset, and that these factors exert a significant influence on the choice of movement. As an extension of these results, here we investigate whether the knowledge about biomechanical costs and their influence on decision-making are the result of an adaptation process taking place during each experimental session or whether this knowledge was learned at an earlier stage of development. Specifically, we analysed both the pattern of decision-making and its fluctuations during each session, of several human subjects making free choices between two reaching movements that varied in path distance (target relative distance), biomechanical cost, aiming accuracy and stopping requirement. Our main result shows that the effect of biomechanics is well established at the start of the session, and that, consequently, the learning of biomechanical costs in decision-making occurred at an earlier stage of development. As a means to characterise the dynamics of this learning process, we also developed a model-based reinforcement learning model, which generates a possible account of how biomechanics may be incorporated into the motor plan to select between reaching movements. Results obtained in simulation showed that, after some pre-training corresponding to a motor babbling phase, the model can reproduce the subjects' overall movement preferences. Although preliminary, this supports that the knowledge about biomechanical costs may have been learned in this manner, and supports the hypothesis that the fluctuations observed in the subjects' behaviour may adapt in a similar fashion.
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Ignasi Cos, Mehdi Khamassi, Benoît Girard. Modeling the Learning of Biomechanics and Visual Planning for Decision-Making of Motor Actions.. Journal of Physiology - Paris, Elsevier, 2013, 107 (5), pp.399-408. ⟨10.1016/j.jphysparis.2013.07.004⟩. ⟨hal-01000837⟩

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