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Anatol G. Fel'dman and Onno G. Meijer

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Anatol G. Feldman, David J. Ostry, Mindy F. Levin, Paul L. Gribble and Arnold B. Mitnitski

The λ model of the equihbrium-point hypothesis (Feldman & Levin, 1995) is an approach to motor control which, like physics, is based on a logical system coordinating empirical data. The model has gone through an interesting period. On one hand, several nontrivial predictions of the model have been successfully verified in recent studies. In addition, the explanatory and predictive capacity of the model has been enhanced by its extension to multimuscle and multijoint systems. On the other hand, claims have recently appeared suggesting that the model should be abandoned. The present paper focuses on these claims and concludes that they are unfounded. Much of the experimental data that have been used to reject the model are actually consistent with it.

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Julie N. Côté, Anatol G. Feldman, Pierre A. Mathieu and Mindy F. Levin

Fatigue affects the capacity of muscles to generate forces and is associated with characteristic changes in EMG signals. It may also influence interjoint and intermuscular coordination. To understand better the global effects of fatigue on multijoint movement, we studied movement kinematics and EMG changes in healthy volunteers asked to hammer repetitively. Movement kinematics and the activity of 20 muscles of the arm, trunk, and leg were recorded before and after subjects became fatigued (as measured using a Borg scale). When fatigue was reached, maximal grip strength and elbow range of motion decreased while the EMG amplitude of the contralateral external oblique muscle was increased. Fatigue did not affect shoulder and wrist kinematics or movement frequency. Results suggest that fatigue influences motion at both local and global levels. Specifically, interjoint and intermuscular coordination adapt to compensate for local effects of fatigue and to maintain key movement characteristics, such as the trajectory of the end effector and the movement frequency. Nonlocal compensations may be a focus of future studies of how fatigue affects complex movements such as those typically performed in the workplace.