The self-organization of ball bouncing

Abstract : The hybrid rhythmic ball-bouncing task considered in this study requires a participant to hit a ball in a virtual environment by moving a paddle in the real environment. It allows for investigation of the on-line visual control of action in humans. Changes in gravity acceleration in the virtual environment affect the ball dynamics and modify the ball-paddle system limit cycle. These changes are shown to be accurately reproduced through simulation by a model integrating continuous information-movement couplings between the ball trajectory and the paddle trajectory, giving rise to a resonance tuning phenomenon. On the contrary, the tested models integrating only intermittent sensorimotor couplings were unable to replicate the observed human behavior. Results suggest that the visual control of action is achieved on-line, in a prospective way. Human rhythmic motor control would benefit from the timing and phase control emerging from the low-level continuous coupling between the central pattern generator and the visual perception of the ball trajectory. This control strategy, which precludes the need for internal clock and explicit environmental representation, is also able to explain the empirical result that the bounces tend to converge toward a passive stability regime during human ball bouncing.
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Guillaume Avrin, Isabelle Siegler, Maria Makarov, Pedro Rodriguez-Ayerbe. The self-organization of ball bouncing. Biological Cybernetics (Modeling), Springer Verlag, 2018, ⟨10.1007/s00422-018-0776-8 ⟩. ⟨hal-01872211⟩

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