Mechanisms controlling accurate changes in elbow torque in humans

P. J. Cordo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


This paper addresses a fundamental question of how motor commands specify target torque levels. Human subjects produced fast and accurate changes in torque with the isometric elbow joint. Visual stimuli were used to indicate target torque levels as well as to cue subjects to initiate their responses. During rapid changes in torque from one steadystate level of another, target torque was achieved through a sequence of approximations. During the first 200-250 msec of responses produced in the presence of visual feedback, 3 distinct control mechanisms were recruited to guide torque to the target level. The timing and accuracy of each control mechanism were evaluated. The first control mechanism was triggered by the visual stimulus and produced the initial rise in torque. Target torque predictability was found to strongly influence the accuracy of this control mechanism produced a corrective adjustment in torque within roughly the first 100 msec of responses. This mechanism incorporated target torque information provided by the stimulus into the response. The third control mechanism began 200-250 msec after response onset and produced corrective adjustments based on visual feedback of torque errors. The stability of the visual feedback mechanism was evaluated because of a long loop delay. Two strategies were used to control stability: low gain and information transfer between the visual feedback mechanism and the preceding (second) control mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)432-442
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Mechanisms controlling accurate changes in elbow torque in humans'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this