Axe 3 : Neuro-biomécanique – Biomarqueurs de la motricité saine et altérée / Theme 4

Neural mechanisms of emotional flexibility in motor control

The first aim of this work is to understand how emotions are able to modulate the way that nervous central system control voluntary or automatic movements. Our studies suggest that emotional context significantly changes the content of the motor command for a same voluntary movement. More precisely, intermuscular coherence between postural muscles significantly decreased when an emotional picture valence was negative compared to a positive one, with a significant correlation with an increase of movement time duration during arm pointing movement to a target. In other words, these findings highlight that muscular activations are differently ‘driven’ by the brain for a same complex motor task depending on the emotional context.

A second aim is to combine EEG with EMG and kinematic (Mocap) recordings to investigate cortico-muscular coherence in order to provide a deeper understanding of the behavioral and neurophysiological strategies of motor control modulations depending on the emotional context. Then, a third work aims to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and peripheral nervous stimulation to highlight the neural processes responsible for the emotional flexibility in the motor behavior. For the first time we propose to address the relative implication of central mechanisms in facilitating or altering the human movement according to the emotional context. Througth an original multidisciplinary approach combining biomechanics, neuroscience and cognitive psychology, this research will contribute to a range of applications in rehabilitation programs for stroke patients (CHU Toulouse) and elderly people (CRIUGM, Centre de recherche de l’Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal) or in training techniques for soldier evolving in hostile environments (CNEC, Centre National d’Entraînement Commando, Mont-Louis).