Neurobiology of Motor Programme Selection

New Approaches to the Study of Behavioural Choice

Edited By

  • J. Kien, Fachbereich für Biologie, Universität Regensburg, D-8400 Regensburg, Germany
  • C.R. McCrohan, Department of Physiological Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PT, UK
  • W. Winlow, Department of Physiology, Worsley Medical and Dental Building, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9NQ, UK

The traditional view of motor systems as a linear chain of elements switched on and off by command neurons has become increasingly difficult to maintain in the face of accumulating evidence against the existence of command elements. So far, however, the general formulation of an alternative approach has been lacking. This book, by summarising the evidence against the linear approach to motor systems, argues forcefully against it. Analyses are presented of motor systems ranging from the lobster stomatogastric system through molluscan systems, leech movement, insect singing and locomotion, fish and amphibian behaviour, to goal-directed a movements in primates and volitional movements in humans. Comparison of these motor systems reveal the existence of some general principles underlying motor control and behavioural choice such that motor systems appear generally to be parallel, distributed processing networks. By discussing the treatment of motor systems in terms of parallel distributed processing systems, this book presents in concentrated form an alternative to the earlier view of motor systems. As such, the book is a must for all neuroscientists interested in the organisation of motor systems and the neuronal substrates of behavioural choice.
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For research workers and students in clinical and basic neuroscience.


Book information

  • Published: July 1992
  • Imprint: PERGAMON
  • ISBN: 978-0-08-041986-2


...its chief merit is that it demonstrates that a deep understanding of the general principles underlying brain function will depend much more on our theoretical underpinnings and their associated formal mathematical methods and much less on the particular species chosen for study.

Table of Contents

Preface. Cellular Bases of Motor Programme Selection. Modulatory control of multiple task processing in the stomatogastric nervous system, E. Marder & J. M. Weimann. Control of egg laying behaviour patterns in Lymnaea stagnalis, A. Ter Maat et al. Motor programme selection and the control of feeding in the snail, C. R. McCrohan & M. A. Kyriakides. Mechanisms of behavioural selection in Lymnaea stagnalis, W. Winlow et al. To flex, swim or struggle? Behavioural selection in Xenopus embryos, S. R. Soffe. Many neurones in the Aplysia abdominal ganglion are active during the gill-withdrawal reflex, Chun Xiao Falk et al. Distributed Neural Networks and Motor Programme Selection. Mechanisms of motor pattern switching in crickets: stridulation and flight, R. M. Hennig. Neural circuits for speed change in swimming fish, B. L. Roberts & W. Mos. Decision-making in the insect nervous system: a model for selection and maintenance of motor programmes, J. Kien & J. S. Altman. Making behavioural choices with interneurones in a distributed system, W. B. Kristan et al. Selection of Directed Movements. Control of goal-directed limb movements in primates: neurobiological evidence for parallel, distributed motor processing, G. E. Alexander & M. D. Crutcher. Premotor systems, attention to action and behavioural choice, G. Goldberg. Directed movement in the frog: motor choice, spatial representation, free will? P. Grobstein. Epilogue. Deciding what to do next, J. Kien et al. Index.