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Assessing randomness and complexity in human motion trajectories through analysis of symbolic sequences

2014

Article

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Complexity is a hallmark of intelligent behavior consisting both of regular patterns and random variation. To quantitatively assess the complexity and randomness of human motion, we designed a motor task in which we translated subjects' motion trajectories into strings of symbol sequences. In the first part of the experiment participants were asked to perform self-paced movements to create repetitive patterns, copy pre-specified letter sequences, and generate random movements. To investigate whether the degree of randomness can be manipulated, in the second part of the experiment participants were asked to perform unpredictable movements in the context of a pursuit game, where they received feedback from an online Bayesian predictor guessing their next move. We analyzed symbol sequences representing subjects' motion trajectories with five common complexity measures: predictability, compressibility, approximate entropy, Lempel-Ziv complexity, as well as effective measure complexity. We found that subjects’ self-created patterns were the most complex, followed by drawing movements of letters and self-paced random motion. We also found that participants could change the randomness of their behavior depending on context and feedback. Our results suggest that humans can adjust both complexity and regularity in different movement types and contexts and that this can be assessed with information-theoretic measures of the symbolic sequences generated from movement trajectories.

Author(s): Peng, Z and Genewein, T and Braun, DA
Journal: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
Volume: 8
Number (issue): 168
Pages: 1-13
Year: 2014
Month: March

Department(s): Empirical Inference
Bibtex Type: Article (article)

DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00168

BibTex

@article{PengGB2014,
  title = {Assessing randomness and complexity in human motion trajectories through analysis of symbolic sequences},
  author = {Peng, Z and Genewein, T and Braun, DA},
  journal = {Frontiers in Human Neuroscience},
  volume = {8},
  number = {168},
  pages = {1-13},
  month = mar,
  year = {2014},
  month_numeric = {3}
}