From Parallel Sequence Representations to Calligraphic Control: A Conspiracy of Neural Circuits
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Calligraphic writing presents a rich set of challenges to the human movement control system. These challenges include: initial learning, and recall from memory, of prescribed stroke sequences; critical timing of stroke onsets and durations; fine control of grip and contact forces; and letter-form invariance under voluntary size scaling, which entails fine control of stroke direction and amplitude during recruitment and derecruitment of musculoskeletal degrees of freedom. Experimental and computational studies in behavioral neuroscience have made rapid progress toward explaining the learning, planning and contTOl exercised in tasks that share features with calligraphic writing and drawing. This article summarizes computational neuroscience models and related neurobiological data that reveal critical operations spanning from parallel sequence representations to fine force control. Part one addresses stroke sequencing. It treats competitive queuing (CQ) models of sequence representation, performance, learning, and recall. Part two addresses letter size scaling and motor equivalence. It treats cursive handwriting models together with models in which sensory-motor tmnsformations are performed by circuits that learn inverse differential kinematic mappings. Part three addresses fine-grained control of timing and transient forces, by treating circuit models that learn to solve inverse dynamics problems.