Somatosensory deafferentation reveals lateralization of proprioception-based feedforward processes for controlling posture and movement

  • Jayasinghe Shanie Al
  • Sarlegna F R
  • Scheidt Robert A
  • Sainburg Robert L

  • Internal model
  • Dynamic dominance
  • Sensory neuropathy
  • Trajectory control


Proprioception provides crucial information necessary for determining limb position and movement and plausibly also for updating internal models that might underlie the control of movement and posture. Seminal studies of upper-limb movements in individuals living with chronic, large-fiber deafferentation have provided evidence for the role of proprioceptive information in the hypothetical formation and maintenance of internal models to produce accurate motor commands. Vision also contributes to sensorimotor functions but cannot fully compensate for proprioceptive deficits. More recent work has shown that posture and movement control processes are lateralized in the brain, and that proprioception plays a fundamental role in coordinating the contributions of these processes to the control of goal-directed actions. In fact, the behavior of each limb in a deafferented individual resembles the action of a controller in isolation. Proprioception thus provides state estimates necessary for the nervous system to efficiently coordinate multiple motor control processes.