Choice reaching with a LEGO arm robot (CoRLEGO): The motor system guides visual attention to movement-relevant information

Soeren Strauss, Philip Woodgate, Saber Sami, Dietmar Heinke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
151 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

We present an extension of a neurobiologically inspired robotics model, termed CoRLEGO (Choice reaching with a LEGO arm robot). CoRLEGO models experimental evidence from choice reaching tasks (CRT). In a CRT participants are asked to rapidly reach and touch an item presented on the screen. These experiments show that non-target items can divert the reaching movement away from the ideal trajectory to the target item. This is seen as evidence attentional selection of reaching targets can leak into the motor system. Using competitive target selection and topological representations of motor parameters (dynamic neural fields) CoRLEGO is able to mimic this leakage effect. Furthermore if the reaching target is determined by its colour oddity (i.e. a green square among red squares or vice versa), the reaching trajectories become straighter with repetitions of the target colour (colour streaks). This colour priming effect can also be modelled with CoRLEGO. The paper also presents an extension of CoRLEGO. This extension mimics findings that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over the motor cortex modulates the colour priming effect (Woodgate et al., 2015). The results with the new CoRLEGO suggest that feedback connections from the motor system to the brain’s attentional system (parietal cortex) guide visual attention to extract movement-relevant information (i.e. colour) from visual stimuli. This paper adds to growing evidence that there is a close interaction between the motor system and the attention system. This evidence contradicts the traditional conceptualization of the motor system as the endpoint of a serial chain of processing stages. At the end of the paper we discuss CoRLEGO’s predictions and also lessons for neurobiologically inspired robotics emerging from this work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3–12
JournalNeural Networks
Volume72
Early online date4 Nov 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015

Keywords

  • LEGO Mindstorms
  • Motor cortex
  • Neurobiologically inspired robotics
  • Target reaching
  • Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)
  • Visual attention

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