Our aim was to investigate how the organization of a whole body movement is altered when movement duration (MD) is varied. Subjects performed the same whole body pointing movement over long, normal and short MDs. The kinematic trajectories were then analyzed on a normalized time base. A principal components analysis (PCA) revealed that the degree of coordination between the elevation angles of the body did not change with MD. This lack of significant differences in the coordination was interesting given that small spatial and temporal differences were observed in the individual kinematic trajectories. They were revealed by studying the trajectories of the elevation angles, joint markers and center of mass. The elevation angle excursions displayed modifications primarily in their spatial characteristics. These alterations were more marked for the short rather than long duration movements. The temporal characteristics of the elevation angles as measured by the time to peak of angular velocity were not modified in the same fashion hence displaying a dissociation in the tuning of the spatial and temporal aspects of the elevation angles. Modifications in the temporal characteristics of the movement were also studied by examining the velocity profiles of the joint markers. Interestingly, unlike the disordered nature of this variable for the elevation angles, the time to peak velocity was neatly ordered as a function of MD for the joint markers – It arrived first for the short duration movements, followed by those of the normal and finally long duration movements. Despite the modifications observed in the kinematic trajectories, a PCA with the elevation angle excursions at different MDs revealed that two principal components were sufficient to account for nearly all the variance in the data. Our results suggest that although similar, the kinematic trajectories at different MDs are not achieved by a simple time scaling.
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Date Published: 14-January-2013
Author(s): Casteran M., Manckoundia P., Pozzo T., Thomas E.