• Neurogeometry of reaching
  • Mazzetti, Caterina <1993>


  • MAT/05 Analisi matematica


  • The purpose of the thesis is to develop a model for the functional behaviour of neurons in the primary motor cortex (M1) responsible for arm reaching movements. From Georgopoulos neurophysiological data, we provide a first bundle structure compatible with the hypercolumnar organization and with the position-direction selectivity of motor cortical cells. We then extend this model to encode the direction of arm movement which varies in time, as experimentally measured by Hatsopoulos by introducing the notion of movement fragments. We provide a sub-Riemannian model which describes the time-dependent directional selectivity of cells though integral curves of the geometric structure we set up. The sub-Riemannian distance we define allows to implement a grouping algorithm able to detect a set of hand motor trajectories. These paths, identified by using a kernel defined in terms of kinematic variables, are compatible with the motor primitives obtained from neurophysiological results by spectral analysis applied directly on cortical variables. In a second part of the work, we propose geodesics in this space as an alternative model of models for arm movement trajectories. We define a special class of curves, called admissible, on which to study the geodesics problem: we provide a connectivity property in terms of admissible paths and the existence of normal length minimizers. Admissible geodesics are used as a model of reaching paths, finding a first validation through Flash and Hogan minimizing trajectories.


  • 2023-03-27


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Mazzetti, Caterina (2023) Neurogeometry of reaching, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Matematica , 35 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/10726.