Functional network analyses and dynamical modeling of proprioceptive updating of the body schema
Proprioception is an ability to perceive the position and speed of body parts that is important for construction of the body schema in the brain. Proper updating of the body schema is necessary for appropriate voluntary movement. However, the mechanisms mediating such an updating are not well understood. To study these mechanisms when the body part was at rest, electroencephalography (EEG) and evoked potentials studies were employed, and when the body was in motion, kinematic studies were performed. An experimental approach to elicit proprioceptive P300 evoked potentials was developed providing evidence that processing of novel passive movements is similar to processing of novel visual and auditory stimuli. The latencies of the proprioceptive P300 potentials were found to be greater than those elicited by auditory, but not different from those elicited by the visual stimuli. The features of the functional networks that generated the P300s were analyzed for each modality. Cross-correlation networks showed both common features, e.g. connections between frontal and parietal areas, and the stimulus-specific features, e.g. increases of the connectivity for temporal electrodes in the visual and auditory networks, but not in the proprioceptive ones. The magnitude of coherency networks showed a reduction in alpha band connectivity for most of the electrodes groupings for all stimuli modalities, but did not demonstrate modality-specific features. Kinematic study compared performances of 19 models previously proposed in the literature for movements at the shoulder and elbow joints in terms of their ability to reconstruct the speed profiles of the wrist pointing movements. It was found that lognormal and beta function models are most suitable for wrist speed profile modeling. In addition, an investigation of the blinking rates during the P300 potentials recordings revealed significantly lower rates in left-handed participants, compared to the right-handed ones. Future work will include expanding the experimental and analytical methodologies to different kinds of proprioceptive stimuli (displacements and speeds) and experimental paradigms (error-related negativity potentials), and comparing the models of the speed profiles produced by the feet to those of the wrists, as well as replicating the observations made on the blinking rates in a larger scale study.