Model for a flexible motor memory based on a self-active recurrent neural network

Bostrom_et_al_2013Using recent recurrent network architecture based on the reservoir computing approach, we propose and numerically simulate a model that is focused on the aspects of a flexible motor memory for the storage of elementary movement patterns into the synaptic weights of a neural network, so that the patterns can be retrieved at any time by simple static commands. The resulting motor memory is flexible in that it is capable to continuously modulate the stored patterns. The modulation consists in an approximately linear inter- and extrapolation, generating a large space of possible movements that have not been learned before. A recurrent network of thousand neurons is trained in a manner that corresponds to a realistic exercising scenario, with experimentally measured muscular activations and with kinetic data representing proprioceptive feedback. The network is „self-active“ in that it maintains recurrent flow of activation even in the absence of input, a feature that resembles the „resting-state activity“ found in the human and animal brain. The model involves the concept of „neural outsourcing“ which amounts to the permanent shifting of computational load from higher to lower-level neural structures, which might help to explain why humans are able to execute learned skills in a fluent and flexible manner without the need for attention to the details of the movement.

Human Movement Science, 32(5):880–898, Oct 2013.

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