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Odd Sensation Induced by Moving-Phantom which Triggers Subconscious Motor Program

Fukui, Takao and Kimura, Toshitaka and Kadota, Koji and Shimojo, Shinsuke and Gomi, Hiroaki (2009) Odd Sensation Induced by Moving-Phantom which Triggers Subconscious Motor Program. PLoS ONE, 4 (6). Art. No. e5782. ISSN 1932-6203. PMCID PMC2686154.

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Our motor actions are sometimes not properly performed despite our having complete understanding of the environmental situation with a suitable action intention. In most cases, insufficient skill for motor control can explain the improper performance. A notable exception is the action of stepping onto a stopped escalator, which causes clumsy movements accompanied by an odd sensation. Previous studies have examined short-term sensorimotor adaptations to treadmills and moving sleds, but the relationship between the odd sensation and behavioral properties in a real stopped-escalator situation has never been examined. Understanding this unique action-perception linkage would help us to assess the brain function connecting automatic motor controls and the conscious awareness of action. Here we directly pose a question: Does the odd sensation emerge because of the unfamiliar motor behavior itself toward the irregular step-height of a stopped escalator or as a consequence of an automatic habitual motor program cued by the escalator itself. We compared the properties of motor behavior toward a stopped escalator (SE) with those toward moving escalator and toward a wooden stairs (WS) that mimicked the stopped escalator, and analyzed the subjective feeling of the odd sensation in the SE and WS conditions. The results show that moving escalator-specific motor actions emerged after participants had stepped onto the stopped escalator despite their full awareness that it was stopped, as if the motor behavior was guided by a “phantom” of a moving escalator. Additionally, statistical analysis reveals that postural forward sway that occurred after the stepping action is directly linked with the odd sensation. The results suggest a dissociation between conscious awareness and subconscious motor control: the former makes us perfectly aware of the current environmental situation, but the latter automatically emerges as a result of highly habituated visual input no matter how unsuitable the motor control is. This dissociation appears to yield an attribution conflict, resulting in the odd sensation.

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Additional Information:© 2009 Fukui et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Received: February 3, 2009; Accepted: May 14, 2009; Published: June 3, 2009. We received annual research funding from Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Co. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Author Contributions: Conceived and designed the experiments: TF TK KK HG. Performed the experiments: TF TK KK HG. Analyzed the data: TF. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: HG. Wrote the paper: TF TK KK SS HG. The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
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Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Co.UNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:6
PubMed Central ID:PMC2686154
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200218-151249627
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Official Citation:Fukui T, Kimura T, Kadota K, Shimojo S, Gomi H (2009) Odd Sensation Induced by Moving-Phantom which Triggers Subconscious Motor Program. PLoS ONE 4(6): e5782.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:101345
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:19 Feb 2020 00:06
Last Modified:19 Feb 2020 00:06

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