Lectures and seminars Cognitive Neuroscience Club with Jean-Jacques Orban de Xivry: "Sensory and motor functions that are preserved with aging"

27-04-2021 4:00 pm Add to iCal
Online Online via Zoom

The Cognitive Neuroscience Club is hosting monthly webinars on the topic Cognitive Neuroscience. The webinars usually takes place during the last week of the month. On 27 April 2021, at 16:00, we welcome Jean-Jacques Orban de Xivry, KU Leuven.

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"Sensory and motor functions that are preserved with aging"


Jean-Jacques Orban de Xivry, KU Leuven, Belgium


Motor and sensory functions are thought to be decreasing with age. Yet, in different motor paradigms linked to internal model function and in sensory paradigms believed to assess somatosensation and/or proprioception, we observed that the performance of the older participants was at least as good as and sometimes even “better” than that of younger participants. The motor tasks tested were all linked to internal model function and were based on either the assessment of internal model recalibration or on sensory attenuation. A survey of the literature on motor function relying on cerebellar function (synchronization of grip force/load force, interjoint coordination …) confirmed this view.

On the sensory side, we tested a large number of participants (N>70) on an arm position matching task and on a perceptual boundary task and found, again, that older people were not impaired on these tasks that are based on conscious report of arm position. Other data from our lab and from other labs confirm that the ability of localizing one’s arm does not change with age.
The talk will be concluded with a few observations about why the literature is heavily biased in favor of age-related changes in function and about whether the populations of older people that are coming to the lab is representative of the general population.  Together, these results show that scientists need to do a better job at understanding the domains where sensory and motor functions deteriorate with aging. Every attendee (especially those above 55 years old) will be happy to see that they should not expect a rapid decline in sensory and motor function by the time of their retirement.


Laura Crucianelli Affiliated to research