Gravitoinertial force level influences arm movement control

J Neurophysiol. 1993 Feb;69(2):504-11. doi: 10.1152/jn.1993.69.2.504.


1. The ability to move the forearm between remembered elbow joint angles immediately after rapid increases or decreases of the background gravitoinertial force (G) level was measured. The movements had been well-practiced in a normal 1G environment before the measurements in high-(1.8G) and low-force (0G) environments. The forearm and upper arm were always unsupported to maximize the influence of altered G-loading and to minimize extraneous cues about arm position. 2. Horizontal and vertical movement planes were studied to measure the effects of varying the G load in the movement plane within a given G background. Rapid and slow movements were studied to assess the role of proprioceptive feedback. 3. G level did not affect the amplitude of rapid movements, indicating that subjects were able to plan and to generate appropriate motor commands for the new G loading of the arm. The amplitude of slow movements was affected by G level, indicating that proprioceptive feedback is influenced by G level. 4. The effects of G level were similar for horizontal and vertical movements, indicating that proprioceptive information from supporting structures, such as the shoulder joint and muscles, had a role in allowing generation of the appropriate motor commands. 5. The incidence and size of dynamic overshoots were greater in 0G and for rapid movements. This G-related change in damping suggests a decrease in muscle spindle activity in 0G. A decrease in muscle spindle activity in 0G and an increase in 1.8G are consistent with the results of our prior studies on the tonic vibration reflex, locomotion, and perception of head movement trajectory in varying force backgrounds.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Arm / physiology*
  • Elbow Joint / physiology
  • Electrophysiology
  • Feedback / physiology
  • Gravitation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Proprioception / physiology