A novel method for the analysis of repetitive limb behavior oscillation is presented. It is based on a model used to account for self-sustained limit cycles that involve energy pumping compensating for dissipative processes. The experiment involved a uni-manual pendulum swinging task paced at five frequencies. The median frequency corresponded to the resonant one for the chosen pendulum and hand parameters. We applied the model-based analysis to explore the relationship between behavioral observables and model parameters not available from previous methods. Oscillation amplitude and energy, and motor variability were the behavioral observables we focused on while energy pumping, attractor strength, and noise amplitude were the model parameters. As expected, energy pumping was found to increase with pacing frequency. Noise amplitude did not change and stability decreased.
The authors are with the Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT.