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*Nichols - 2009 - The implications of force feedback for the lambda model


Nichols R, Ross KT. The implications of force feedback for the lambda model. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2009;629:663-79. PUBMED

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It is argued here that length and force feedback play important but distinct roles in motor coordination. Length feedback compensates for several nonlinear properties of muscle and therefore simplifies its behavior, but in addition promotes the nonlinear relationship between force and stiffness that is essential to the mechanism for modulating joint stiffness. Excitatory force feedback is also primarily autogenic. Under conditions of level treadmill stepping in cat walking, positive force feedback is restricted in the distal hindlimb to a few and perhaps only one ankle extensor, the gastrocnemius muscle group. Based on the anatomy of this group, positive force feedback provides a stiff linkage that reinforces proportional coordination between ankle and knee joints. In terms of the lambda model, excitatory force feedback can reinforce muscular force generation and stiffness, but should have no significant effect on activation threshold. Inhibitory force feedback projects mainly to muscles that span different joints and axes of rotation than the parent muscle. This heterogenic force feedback is thought to promote interjoint coordination and thought to influence stiffness of the joints and limbs. During locomotion, the inhibitory influences appear to be focused on the distal musculature. Since the inhibitory force feedback is heterogenic, it also influences the threshold for activation of relevant musculature. Threshold is therefore not entirely a control variable and independent of feedback. It is proposed that the actuators for movement consist of systems of muscles or motor units that are linked by feedback and that receive control signals from elsewhere in the nervous system.


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