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L. Lonini, Dipietro L, L. Zollo, E. Guglielmelli, and H. I Krebs (2009)

An internal model for acquisition and retention of motor learning during arm reaching

Neural Computation, 21(7).

Humans have the ability to learn novel motor tasks while manipulating the environment. Several models of motor learning have been proposed in the literature but few of them address the problem of retention and interference of motor memory. The Modular Selection and Identification for Control (MOSAIC) model, originally proposed by Wolpert and Kawato, is one of the most relevant contributions; it suggests a possible strategy on how the human motor control system learns and adapts to novel environments. MOSAIC employs the concept of forward and inverse models. The same group later proposed the Hidden Markov Model (HMM) MOSAIC, which affords learning multiple tasks. The significant drawback of this second approach is that the HMM must be trained with a complete data set that includes all contexts. Since the number of contexts or modules is fixed from the onset, this approach does not afford incremental learning of new tasks. In this paper we present an alternative architecture to overcome this problem, based on a non-parametric regression algorithm named Locally Weighted Projection Regression (LWPR). This network grows its structure according to the contexts allowing incremental training. Of notice, interaction force is used to disambiguate among different contexts. We demonstrate the capability of this alternative architecture with a simulated 2 Degree-Of-Freedom (DOF) representation of the human arm that learns to interact with three distinct objects, reproducing the same test paradigm of the HMM MOSAIC. After learning the dynamics of the three objects, the LWPR network successfully learns to compensate for a novel velocity-dependent force field. Equally important, it retains previously acquired knowledge on the interaction with the three objects. Thus, this architecture allows both incremental learning of new tasks as well as retention of previously acquired knowledge, which is a feature of human motor learning and memory.
Motor control; Internal Model; Human Arm; Reaching; Motor Learning and Adaptation; Locally Weighted Learning
Relevant for: WP6 hierarchical architectures. A modular neural system developing the ideas of the MOSAIC model.