Our research interest is to understand the behavioural, neural, and mechanical aspects of voluntary motor function. We use optimal control theory as a framework to interpret voluntary control which emphasizes the importance of sensory feedback for controlling motor actions. Our studies use the Kinarm robot we invented to quantify planar limb movements.
We use small disturbances (usually mechanical, but visual sometimes) to observe how subjects make corrective responses to attain behavioural goals. Effectively, these disturbances allow us to probe the motor circuits to understand the underlying control processes. Most studies quantify changes in muscle electromyographic activity to observe the exact timing when the motor system reflects different functional processes. This research is supported by a grant from NSERC.
Scott SH. (1999) Apparatus for measuring and perturbing shoulder and elbow joint positions and torques during reaching. Journal of Neuroscience Methods. 89:119-127.
Scott SH. (2004) Optimal feedback control and the neural basis of volitional motor control. Nature Reviews Neuroscience. 5:532-546.
Scott SH. (2012) The computational and neural basis of voluntary motor control and planning. Trends in Cognitive Science. 16(11):541-549.
Scott SH. (2016) A Functional Taxonomy of Bottom-Up Sensory Feedback Processing for Motor Actions. Trends in Neurosciences. 39(8):512-526.
Human Motor Control
We use small disturbances (usually mechanical, but visual sometimes) to observe how subjects make corrective responses to attain behavioural goals. Most studies quantify changes in muscle electromyographic activity to observe the exact timing when the motor system reflects different functional processes. This research is supported by a grant from NSERC.
Crevecoeur, F., Scott, S.H. and Cluff, T. (2019) Robust control in human reaching movements: a model-free strategy to compensate for unpredictable disturbances. Journal of Neuroscience 0770-19.
Cross, K., Cluff, T., Tomohiko, T. and Scott, S.H. (2019) Visual feedback processing of the limb involves two distinct phases. Journal of Neuroscience 39:6751-6765.
Kurtzer, I., Bouyer, L.J., Bouffard, A., Jin, A., Christiansen, L., Nielsen, J.B. and Scott, S.H. (2018) Variable impact of tizanidine on the medium latency reflex of upper and lower limbs. Experimental Brain Research 236:665-677.
Crevecoeur, F., Munoz, D.P. and Scott, S.H. (2016) Dynamic Bayesian integration: somatosensory speed trumps visual accuracy when we move. Journal of Neuroscience 36:8598-8611.
Neural Control of Movements in NHPs
We also examine the neural control of movement, specifically related to the coordination of shoulder and elbow motion. We again focus on using small disturbances to observe how different brain regions, such as primary motor cortex, area 5 and pre-motor cortex are involved in feedback processing. This work is supported by CIHR.
Kaladindi, H.T., Cross, K.P., Lillicrap, T.P., Omrani, M., Falotico, E., Sabes, P.N. and Scott, S.H. (2021) Rotational dynamics in motor cortex are consistent with a feedback controller. eLife (in press).
Takei, T., Lomber, S.G., Cook, D.J. and Scott S.H. (2021) Causal roles of frontoparietal cortical areas in feedback control of the limb. Current Biology 31:1475-1487.
Cross, K., Heming, E., Cook, D.J. and Scott, S.H. (2020) Maintained representations of the ipsilateral and contralateral limbs during bimanual control in primary motor cortex. Journal of Neuroscience 40:6732-6721.
Heming, E.A., Cross, K.P., Takei, T., Cook D.J. and Scott, S.H., (2019) Independent representations of ipsilateral and contralateral forelimbs in primary motor cortex. eLife 8, e48190.
Takei, T., Crevecoeur, F., Herter, T.M. and Scott, S.H. (2018) Correlations between primary motor cortex activity with recent past and future limb motion during unperturbed reaching. Journal of Neuroscience 38:7787-7799.