“Proprioceptive signature” of cursive writing in humans: a multi-population coding
The effects of prior vibration of the antagonist triceps muscle on the performance of rapid discrete elbow flexion movements were studied in healthy volunteers. The subjects performed 520 movements over five experimental sessions. The application of prior vibration resulted in a shift of the initial position, an undershoot of the final position in untrained subjects, and also in trained subjects if not applied during practice. On the contrary, no undershoot occurred in trained subjects when prior vibration was applied during practice. Improvement in movement performance, as judged by a decrease in variability of the final position, was less successful when vibration was applied during practice. It is supposed that the undershoots were due to prior vibration-induced alterations in proprioceptive messages and a consequent erroneous sense of the arm position. These effects seem to be overcome by practice, but also seem to interfere with learning-based movement improvement.