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I've seen cognitive/roboter models where the input signals from the sensors are directly used as the signal for outgoing motoric control.

This doesn't make much sense, because obviously we're able to do heavy work with our muscles quite independently from the strength of incoming signals from our sensor systems. However when I consulted several books on general cognition, I wasn't able to discover the source of these arbitrarily strong signals - I'd suspect the thalamus.

I wonder how you could perform a task, e.g. playing piano with both applying weak or strong force. Both the plan(how to move the fingers) and the feedback (how it sounds)signal would remain the same.

So where does the signal for motoric behaviour originate and more importantly what (or who) regulates it's strength? Where does the extra energy come from?

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I don't have time for a full answer right now, but I'll grab some resources on this later. Essentially, it has to do with both recruiting more motor units in the spinal cord and the additivity of increased firing rates. –  Chuck Sherrington Nov 16 '12 at 17:37
(update: I'm still thinking about this, I've been side-tracked) –  Chuck Sherrington Nov 30 '12 at 12:50
Seems to me you basically nailed it, Chuck. I think a simplified view is that extra recruitment can recruit more muscle, firing rate can make a fixed set of muscles "try harder". So there's spatial distribution and an intensity. To specifically answer about sensory dependence... you're getting feedback sensory from your muscles as you lift, so it's possible the extra input is from the muscles themselves doing work. This is some speculation though, so I keep it a comment. –  Keegan Keplinger Dec 4 '12 at 6:12

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