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PLoS One. 2015 Apr 22;10(4):e0125461. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0125461. eCollection 2015.

The tuning of human motor response to risk in a dynamic environment task.

Author information

1
Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, United States of America.
2
Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, United States of America; Department of Neurology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, United States of America; Department of Biokinesiology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, United States of America; Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States of America.

Abstract

The role of motor uncertainty in discrete or static space tasks, such as pointing tasks, has been investigated in many experiments. These studies have shown that humans hold an internal representation of intrinsic and extrinsic motor uncertainty and compensate for this variability when planning movement. The aim of this study was to investigate how humans respond to uncertainties during movement execution in a dynamic environment despite indeterminate knowledge of the outcome of actions. Additionally, the role of errors, or lack thereof, in predicting risk was examined. In the experiment, subjects completed a driving simulation game on a two-lane road. The road contained random curves so that subjects were forced to use sensory feedback to complete the task and could not rely only on motor planning. Risk was manipulated by using horizontal perturbations to create the illusion of driving on a bumpy road, thereby imposing motor uncertainty, and altering the cost function of the road. Results suggest continual responsiveness to cost and uncertainty in a dynamic task and provide evidence that subjects avoid risk even in the absence of errors. The results suggest that humans tune their statistical motor behavior based on cost, taking into account probabilities of possible outcomes in response to environmental uncertainty.

PMID:
25901604
PMCID:
PMC4406495
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0125461
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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