Making circuits dance: neuromodulation of motor systems
There are three basic types of movement. Voluntary movements, such as playing the violin or throwing a ball, are purposeful and target-directed and require a complex interplay between lower and higher brain structures. Reflexive movements, such as the knee jerk reflex in humans or escape responses in fishes, are responses to external stimuli that are fast, involuntary, and often involve a simple set of muscles. Rhythmic movements, like walking, swimming, or chewing, are automatic and involve repetitive activation of large groups of muscles, in a complex alternating pattern. Complex movements such as dancing probably involve a combination of all three basic types of movement. This chapter focuses on rhythmic movements because more is known about the roles that neuromodulation plays in the production of this class of movements. Many of the generalizations drawn from this research are probably applicable not only to other types of movements, but to non-motor circuits as well.
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