How Spinal Neural Networks Reduce Discrepancies between Motor Intention and Motor Realization
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This paper attempts a rational, step-by-step reconstruction of many aspects of the mammalian neural circuitry known to be involved in the spinal cord's regulation of opposing muscles acting on skeletal segments. Mathematical analyses and local circuit simulations based on neural membrane equations are used to clarify the behavioral function of five fundamental cell types, their complex connectivities, and their physiological actions. These cell types are: α-MNs, γ-MNs, IaINs, IbINs, and Renshaw cells. It is shown that many of the complexities of spinal circuitry are necessary to ensure near invariant realization of motor intentions when descending signals of two basic types independently vary over large ranges of magnitude and rate of change. Because these two types of signal afford independent control, or Factorization, of muscle LEngth and muscle TEnsion, our construction was named the FLETE model (Bullock and Grossberg, 1988b, 1989). The present paper significantly extends the range of experimental data encompassed by this evolving model.