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Cognitive processes and a Centre-of-Pressure error-based moving light-touch Biofeedback

Fabien Vérité 1, 2 Wael Bachta 1, 2
2 AGATHE - Assistance aux Gestes et Applications THErapeutiques
ISIR - Institut des Systèmes Intelligents et de Robotique, INSERM - Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale : U1150
Abstract : Lightly touching an earth-fixed external surface with the forefinger provides somatosensory information that reduces the Center of Pressure (CoP) oscillations. If this surface were to move slowly, the Central Nervous System (CNS) would misinterpret its movement as body self-motion, and involuntary compensatory sway responses would appear, resulting in a significant coupling between finger and CoP motions. We designed a forefinger moving light-touch biofeedback based on this finding, which controls the surface velocity to drive the CoP towards a target position. Here, we investigate this biofeedback resistance to cognitive processes. In addition to a baseline, the experimental protocol includes four main conditions. In the first, participants were utterly naive about the feedback. Then, they received additional reliable sensory information. The third condition ensured their full awareness of the external nature of the surface motion. Finally, the experimenter notified them that the external motion drives their balance and asked them to reject its influence. Our investigation shows that despite the robustness of the proposed biofeedback, light-touch remains penetrable by cognitive processes. For participants to dramatically reduce the existing coupling between the finger and CoP motions, they should be aware of the external motion, how it impacts sway, and actively reject its influence. The main implication of our findings is that light-touch exhibits the same cognitive flexibility as vision when artificially stimulated. This could be interpreted as a defense mechanism to re-weight these two sensory inputs in a moving environment.
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Submitted on : Monday, February 22, 2021 - 4:27:19 PM
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Fabien Vérité, Wael Bachta. Cognitive processes and a Centre-of-Pressure error-based moving light-touch Biofeedback. Neuroscience Letters, Elsevier, 2021, pp.135743. ⟨10.1016/j.neulet.2021.135743⟩. ⟨hal-03148959⟩

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