A model of temporal scaling correctly predicts that motor timing improves with speed (2018)
*Nicholas F. Hardy, Vishwa Goudar, Juan L. Romero-Sosa & Dean V. Buonomano. A model of temporal scaling correctly predicts that motor timing improves with speed, Nature Communications. (2018) (Nature) (local cache)
Timing is fundamental to complex motor behaviors: from tying a knot to playing the piano. A general feature of motor timing is temporal scaling: the ability to produce motor patterns at different speeds. One theory of temporal processing proposes that the brain encodes time in dynamic patterns of neural activity (population clocks), here we first examine whether recurrent neural network (RNN) models can account for temporal scaling. Appropriately trained RNNs exhibit temporal scaling over a range similar to that of humans and capture a signature of motor timing, Weber’s law, but predict that temporal precision improves at faster speeds. Human psychophysics experiments confirm this prediction: the variability of responses in absolute time are lower at faster speeds. These results establish that RNNs can account for temporal scaling and suggest a novel psychophysical principle: the Weber-Speed effect.