PSB 4004 Discussion Post

The Motor System
Describe how a complex action (e.g. licking an ice cream cone) is assembled from component parts and checked for errors. You must make one original post and respond to one of your classmate’s posts. Your post and response must contain some reference to that module’s content, exhibit some understanding of that content, and make reference to something outside of the course material (e.g. material from another class, online video or article, personal experience).
Post. to Respond to: We often need to grab our phones, and we do so quickly when we hear a notification from someone we really want to talk to. Though it seems like a simple task to pick up your phone and unlock it, there are actually many simple component parts in the motor system that are being used to comprise of this complex motor action. To start, one must find the location of the their phone and pick up their phone from that place. The posterior parietal cortex specializes in the spatial localization of the action you wish to complete. This is higher motor planning. The supplementary motor area is also at work because our action is internally motivated; we are picking up our phone because we are motivated to respond to the notification we just heard. The primary motor cortex is the main source of our simple motor actions, such as reaching, which would be used to reach, and grasp our phone. The arms, hands, and fingers are close to each other in the somatotopic organization of the primary motor cortex. Because our fingers need more precision, they also take up more space in this area than the arms. The secondary motor cortex assembles the simple motor actions into a sequence of picking up the phone and typing the passcode. The memorization of the password, a sequence of the numbers, utilizes the pre-SMA. The pathway that the motor actions for the fingers would take is the dorsolateral tract, because it specializes in distal movements. It is also discovered through studies that we gauge the amount of grip strength we will need to pick up the object. Because our phones are relatively light, we won’t use a very hard grip (which could explain why we drop our phones when bumping into things). (Links to an external site.)The modulators of each action are the cerebellum and basal ganglia. Since the motor system is functionally segregated, the corrections of any errors occur on any level. Each level can also relay back to the other. This is one example of how seemingly simple movements require a complex motor system.

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