Mirror Neurons and Movement Patterns

What’s This Research About?

This broken escalator aftereffect has been proven in previous experiments.
In this study, they wanted to see if simply observing someone reacting to a
moving surface (sled) (not having previous experience with the sled) would
still result in compensatory movement to an anticipated unstable surface in
the observer. This effect would be explained by the presence of mirror neurons
in the brain. These mirror neurons allow people to decrease movement errors
by simply observing others in their social network. They also tested to see if
there was more of an aftereffect with an actor showing exaggerated amounts
of compensatory movement.

TITLE: Locomotor adaptation is modulated by observing the actions of others.


PUBLICATION: Journal of Neurophysiology

DATE: Sep 2015

AUTHORS : Patel M, Roberts RE, Riyaz MU, Ahmed M, Buckwell D, Bunday K, Ahmad H, Kaski D, Arshad Q, Bronstein AM

Locomotor aftereffect (LAE): When we ambulate through the world our brain stores up a cache of “movement memory” created from our previous experience as well as from observing the movement of others. This storage of movement patterns first helps us to be as efficient as possible while moving around. Secondly it helps in being prepared physically for a possibly hazardous environment. When we encounter say an escalator or moving sidewalk, previously the movement experience with the escalator was filed away so we can call upon the movement strategy that we used before, not having to figure it out from scratch and keeps us from toppling over when we go on the moving surface. Studies have shown when people walk onto an escalator and it’s not moving, our body still reacts as if there is going to be movement. We automatically go to the stored movement in our brains and anticipate a moving surface making us do a bit of a shimmy before we realize that the escalator is not moving. This effect has been termed the “broken escalator paradigm”, or locomotor aftereffect (LAE).

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By |2017-06-07T19:58:48-04:00May 20th, 2017|Motor Learning|0 Comments

About the Author:

Catherine brings to her role as a personal trainer a wealth of education and years of athletic experience with training in track and cross country running, gymnastics and rowing, boxing and yoga. She received a B.A. in Sports Medicine and Exercise Physiology from the University of San Francisco and an M.A. in Kinesiology at San Francisco State University. She also holds certifications in ACE, FMS I and II, PRI (Myokinematics, Respiration), Neuromuscular therapy, FRCms, and FR. As an athlete she sustained several injuries, which led her on the path to study and understand the body and the mechanisms of healing. "I was fascinated with everything I learned. Throughout college, I worked with USF athletes as an athletic trainer in the prevention and rehabilitation of injuries. Soon I was able to transfer all of this knowledge into helping everyday people with their aches and pains." Her thirst for knowledge is never quenched and she continues to evolve her practice to stay up to date on the latest research and methods to help her clients with present injuries, pain, and best ways to acquire strength to maintain a healthy body. "I believe assessment is still key in starting with clients but stability, global strength and everyday movement are key to people's longevity, and quality of life. If people can slowly and systematically expose their bodies to different loads to gain strength and mobility they will better succeed to get the most out of their bodies." Learn more about Catherine Cowey.