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George E. Carvell, PhD, PT   University of Pittsburgh
V.B. Brooks’ 20th Century Horizontal Hierarchy
(note ultimate authority: limbic system)
Limbic
System
Association
System
Projection
System
Spinal
System
Musculo-skeletal
System
EMOTIVE
COGNITIVE
HIGHEST LEVEL
MIDDLE LEVEL
LOWEST LEVEL
DEMANDS
SELECTS
GUIDES
EXECUTES
MOVES
‘FILL MY NEEDS’
‘TAKE THIS ROUTE’
‘DO IT THIS WAY NOW’
‘JUST DO IT ’
‘DOING IT ’
(after Brooks
 fig 2.4, p 25)
 
SENSORIMOTOR INTEGRATION: LEARNING
GMOMM  © 2001
Golfer swing in Brooks fig 1.1 p 6
When we are first learning a new task we attend to details of the motion, & use many forms of feedback. We tend to move slowly in a discontinuous fashion. As we practice, we gain insight into the requirements for the task, make fewer errors, move faster and more efficiently. The transition to a continuous movement pattern marks an initial stage of motor learning and skill acquisition. We may alter our posture as well as movement path to optimize performance. The trained eye of a coach/expert teacher may hasten gains and bring performance to a higher level. Mental as well as physical practice are critical ingredients, and perfecting practice schedules is always a challenge. The novice often tends to 'guide' the object or body part to the target center. As learning ensues the person begins to 'launch' the ‘missile’ with a faster motion and learns the biomechanical 'rules' of the task. If any talent for the task resides in the learner, performance improves. Feed-forward neural control becomes more important than feedback as skill improves and the task becomes overlearned. Although muscles obey the rules of the length/tension & force/velocity curves, increasing either the isotonic amplitude or the isometric load of a movement is associated with an increased velocity for many volitional contractions. Actual torque generated declines with increasing speed, as measured on an isokinetic device, so velocity, load, momentum & accuracy of limb displacement must be linked biomechanically.