"A Motivational Set-point for Human Movements" by Terrence Sejnowski (Salk Institute, UCSD and HHMI)

Thursday, January 7, 2016 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Physics and Astronomy Colloquium

Thursdays, 4:00-5:00 pm

1-434 Physics and Astronomy (map)
Reception from 3:30-4:00 p.m.
(unless otherwise posted)

Guest Speaker: Terrence Sejnowski (Salk Institute, UCSD and HHMI)

Talk Title:  “A Motivational Set-point for Human Movements”


The movements we make, such as reaching for a cup, do not depend on when they are made. This time-translation symmetry implies a conserved quantity, which we call drive. Analysis of this conservation law for the minimum-jerk model for motor control reproduces observed regularities in human hand movements, including the smoothly varying speed profiles within straight and curved hand movements. We generalized drive conservation across movements to derive new scaling laws between the size and the overall speed of movements for straight and circular hand movements and confirmed them with psychophysical experiments. Drive conservation provides a new viewpoint for understanding biological motor control. Drive can be interpreted as the motivational set point for how fast to move, which may be related to neuromodulatory systems in the brain. 

For more information, contact Jay Hauser

We thank the following people for their contributions to the wine fund for the post-colloquium reception:
Prof. Dolores Bozovic, Prof. Mike Cornwall, Prof. Bob Cousins, Prof. Andrea Ghez, Prof. Karoly Holczer, Prof. Eric Hudson, Robert Huff, Prof. Alex Kusenko, Prof. Myank Mehta, Prof. John Miao, Prof. Roberto Peccei, Prof. Claudio Pellegrini, Prof. David Saltzberg, Prof. Jean Turner and Prof. Ben Zuckerman.

Event Attachments: 
1-434 PAB