April 20, 2021

Effect of Handedness on Learned Controllers and Sensorimotor Noise During Trajectory-Tracking

In human-in-the-loop control systems, operators can learn to manually control dynamic machines with either hand using a combination of reactive (feedback) and predictive (feedforward) control. This paper studies the effect of handedness on learned controllers and performance during a continuous trajectory-tracking task. In an experiment with 18 participants, subjects perform an assay of unimanual trajectory-tracking and disturbance-rejection tasks through second-order machine dynamics, first with one hand then the other. To assess how hand preference (or dominance) affects learned controllers, we extend, validate, and apply a non-parametric modeling method to estimate the concurrent feedback and feedforward elements of subjects’ controllers. We find that handedness does not affect the learned controller and that controllers transfer between hands. Observed improvements in time-domain tracking performance may be attributed to adaptation of feedback to reject disturbances arising exogenously (i.e. applied by the experimenter) and endogenously (i.e. generated by sensorimotor noise)

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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