A Quantitative Evaluation of the AVITEWRITE Model of Handwriting Learning
van Gemmert, Arend
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Much sensory-motor behavior develops through imitation, as during the learning of handwriting by children. Such complex sequential acts are broken down into distinct motor control synergies, or muscle groups, whose activities overlap in time to generate continuous, curved movements that obey an intense relation between curvature and speed. The Adaptive Vector Integration to Endpoint (AVITEWRITE) model of Grossberg and Paine (2000) proposed how such complex movements may be learned through attentive imitation. The model suggest how frontal, parietal, and motor cortical mechanisms, such as difference vector encoding, under volitional control from the basal ganglia, interact with adaptively-timed, predictive cerebellar learning during movement imitation and predictive performance. Key psycophysical and neural data about learning to make curved movements were simulated, including a decrease in writing time as learning progresses; generation of unimodal, bell-shaped velocity profiles for each movement synergy; size scaling with isochrony, and speed scaling with preservation of the letter shape and the shapes of the velocity profiles; an inverse relation between curvature and tangential velocity; and a Two-Thirds Power Law relation between angular velocity and curvature. However, the model learned from letter trajectories of only one subject, and only qualitative kinematic comparisons were made with previously published human data. The present work describes a quantitative test of AVITEWRITE through direct comparison of a corpus of human handwriting data with the model's performance when it learns by tracing human trajectories. The results show that model performance was variable across subjects, with an average correlation between the model and human data of 89+/-10%. The present data from simulations using the AVITEWRITE model highlight some of its strengths while focusing attention on areas, such as novel shape learning in children, where all models of handwriting and learning of other complex sensory-motor skills would benefit from further research.