David Lee

David Lee
The University of Edinburgh | UoE · School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

PhD

About

87
Publications
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Introduction
My basic concern is how organisms control their purposeful movements, which are essential to life. Nervous systems play a key role, in programming, perceptually monitoring and performing purposeful movements. How they do this needs to be better understood.

Publications

Publications (87)
Article
Full-text available
Prospective motor control moves the body into the future, from where one is to where one wants to be. It is a hallmark of intentionality. But its origin in development is uncertain. In this study, we tested whether or not the arm movements of newborn infants were prospectively controlled. We measured the spatiotemporal organisation of 480 neonatal...
Preprint
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A theory is presented about the information available for guiding purposeful actions by any organism, whether animal or plant, and about how the information is used in guiding actions.
Preprint
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Neural systems control purposeful movements both within an animal’s body (e.g., pumping blood) and in the environment (e.g., reaching). This is vital for all animals. The movement control functions of globus pallidus (GP), subthalamic nucleus (STN) and zona incerta (ZI) were analyzed in monkeys reaching for seen targets. Temporal profiles of their...
Preprint
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A theory of action control (General Tau Theory) is applied to analyzing normal and abnormal movements in PD; and to designing and testing the efficacy of a sonic aid for PD. A central aspect of the theory, which is supported by experimental evidence across a variety of actions and species, is that the trajectories of competent skilled actions follo...
Article
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A theory of action control (General Tau Theory) is applied to analyzing the vocalizations of human neonates. A central aspect of the theory, which is supported by experimental evidence across various actions and species, is that the trajectories of competent skilled actions follow a particular temporal pattern, which is described by the mathematica...
Preprint
Full-text available
Nervous systems control purposeful movement, both within and outside the body, which is essential for the survival of an animal. The movement control functions of globus pallidus (GP), subthalamic nucleus (STN) and zona incerta (ZI) were analyzed in monkeys reaching for seen targets. Temporal profiles of the hand movements of monkeys and the synchr...
Preprint
Full-text available
In this report we explore the guidance of circumnutation of climbing bean stems under the light of general rho/tau theory, a theory that aims to explain how living organisms guide goal-directed movements ecologically. We present some preliminary results on the control of circumnutation by climbing beans, and explore the possibility that the power o...
Article
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A theory of controlling contact is presented based solely on sensory information about the rho functions of changing gaps and the animal's orientation to gravity. The rho function of a gap is the relative rate of change of size of the gap and is directly available in all sensory modalities, unlike size and rate-of-change of size, which require scal...
Article
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A systems theory of movement control in animals is presented in this article and applied to explaining the controlled behaviour of the single-celled Paramecium caudatum in an electric field. The theory-General Tau Theory-is founded on three basic principles: (i) all purposive movement entails prospectively controlling the closure of action-gaps (e....
Article
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Summary x, where the tau function of x is x divided by its rate of change; i.e. t(x)=x/x . . t(x) is a first- order approximation of time to contact with the perch and so could be used for timing foot extension. Controlled braking is possible by simply keeping t . (x), the rate of change of t(x), constant. The results indicated that pigeons did reg...
Article
Previous studies have characterised young children as unskilled road-users. Provision of training and practice in basic road-crossing skills may reduce children's risk on the roads, as increasing automatisation of these skills will free attentional resources for more demanding aspects of road-user behaviour. Previous work by Lee and colleagues sugg...
Article
The cerebellum receives signals from, and sends signals to, the parietal cortex and instances of cerebellocerebral diaschisis indicate that some behaviours are controlled through this circuitry. Not all aspects of action control associated with the parietal cortex have been reported in patients with cerebellar damage though. Presented here is a cas...
Article
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Many human and animal tasks are thought to be controlled with the tau informational variable. It is widely accepted that controlling the rate of change of tau (tau) during decelerative tasks, such as when braking or landing, is one common perceptual control strategy. However, many tasks require accelerating before decelerating to a goal, such as re...
Article
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A fundamental aspect of goal-directed behavior concerns the closure of motion-gaps in a timely fashion. In this context, the critical variable is the time-to-closure, called tau (Lee in Perception 5:437-459, 1976), and is defined as the ratio of the current distance-to-goal gap over the current instantaneous speed towards the goal. In this study, w...
Article
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The sounds in expressive musical performance, and the movements that produce them, offer insight into temporal patterns in the brain that generate expression. To gain understanding of these brain patterns, we analyzed two types of transient sounds, and the movements that produced them, during a vocal duet and a bass solo. The transient sounds studi...
Poster
Full-text available
Poster on prospective control of the voice by neonatal infants.
Article
Big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) were videotaped in the dark with a night-vision lens and infrared illumination while flying repeatedly along the same straight course to seize a tethered mealworm or a small electret microphone used to record biosonar signals impinging on the target. Bats emitted frequency-modulated sounds with first to third harmo...
Article
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The title of this paper, posed as a question, reflects the current interest in gaining an improved understanding of visual perception in flight control to inform the development of design guidelines for future pilot vision aids. The paper develops the optical flow theory of visual perception into its most recent incarnation, tau-coupling, where tau...
Article
Full-text available
The title of this paper, posed as a question, reflects the current interest in gaining an improved understanding of visual perception in flight control to inform the development of design guidelines for future pilot vision aids. The paper develops the optical flow theory of visual perception into its most recent incarnation, tau-coupling, where tau...
Article
Full-text available
Animals control contact with surfaces when locomoting, catching prey, etc. This requires sensorily guiding the rate of closure of gaps between effectors such as the hands, feet or jaws and destinations such as a ball, the ground and a prey. Control is generally rapid, reliable and robust, even with small nervous systems: the sensorimotor processes...
Article
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Infrared cameras and ultrasonic microphones were used to record big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) flying in natural conditions at night while they hunted for insects. As expected, bats avoided obstacles while flying through vegetation and intercepted flying prey in the open. But bats also appeared to capture insects near and possibly on the ground...
Article
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Actions that involve making contact with surfaces often demand perceptual regulation of the impact - for example, of feet with ground when walking or of bat with ball when hitting. Here we investigate how this control of impact is achieved in golf putting, where control of the clubhead motion at ball impact is paramount in ensuring that the ball wi...
Article
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As a consequence of the fragility of various neural structures, preterm infants born at a low gestation and/or birthweight are at an increased risk of developing motor abnormalities. The lack of a reliable means of assessing motor integrity prevents early therapeutic intervention. In this paper, we propose a new method of assessing neonatal motor p...
Article
Full-text available
A recently generalized theory of perceptual guidance (general tau theory) was used to analyse coordination in skilled movement. The theory posits that (i) guiding movement entails controlling closure of spatial and/or force gaps between effectors and goals, by sensing and regulating the tau s of the gaps (the time-to-closure at current closure rate...
Article
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Rapid orientating movements of the eyes are believed to be controlled ballistically. The mechanism underlying this control is thought to involve a comparison between the desired displacement of the eye and an estimate of its actual position (obtained from the integration of the eye velocity signal). This study shows, however, that under certain cir...
Article
As infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) have difficulty maintaining adequate levels of oxygenation during rest, it was decided to investigate how the additional respiratory demands associated with nutritive feeding disrupt their breathing rates. The sucking and breathing patterns of six (three male, three female) preterm infants (between 2...
Article
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As infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) have difficulty maintaining adequate levels of oxygenation during rest, it was decided to investigate how the additional respiratory demands associated with nutritive feeding disrupt their breathing rates. The sucking and breathing patterns of six (three male, three female) preterm infants (between 2...
Article
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Human newborns appear to regulate sucking pressure when bottle feeding by employing, with similar precision, the same principle of control evidenced by adults in skilled behavior, such as reaching (Lee et al., 1998a). In particular, the present study of 12 full-term newborn infants indicated that the intraoral sucking pressures followed an internal...
Article
Background. Young children show poor judgment when asked to select a safe place to cross the road, frequently considering dangerous sites to be safe. Correspondingly, child pedestrian accidents are over-represented at such locations. Increasing the child's ability to recognise such dangers is a central challenge for road safety education. Aims. Pra...
Article
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Studies of sensory guidance of movement in animals show that large nervous systems are not necessary for accurate control, suggesting that guidance may be based on some simple principles. In search for those principles, a theory of guidance of movement is described, which has its roots in Gibson's pathfinding work on visual control of locomotion (J...
Article
Studies of sensory guidance of movement in animals show that large nervous systems are not necessary for accurate control, suggesting that guidance may be based on some simple principles. In search for those principles, a theory of guidance of movement is described, which has its roots in Gibson's pathfinding work on visual control of locomotion (J...
Article
Full-text available
To test whether newborn babies take account of external forces in moving their limbs, spontaneous arm-waving movements were measured while the baby lay supine with its head turned to one side. Free-hanging weights, attached to each wrist by strings passing over pulleys, pulled on the arms in the direction of the toes. The results showed the babies...
Article
To test whether newborn babies take account of external forces in moving their limbs, spontaneous arm-waving movements were measured while the baby lay supine with its head turned to one side. Free-hanging weights, attached to each wrist by strings passing over pulleys, pulled on the arms in the direction of the toes. The results showed the babies...
Article
Devising effective therapy for movement disorder in the cerebral palsied child requires in-depth measures of the child's motor functioning. Current assessment mainly uses measures of surface behaviour, but these measures cannot reveal the underlying causes of movement disorder which therapy needs to address. This paper reviewed five different exper...
Article
1. Flights of three big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) landing on a hand and catching a suspended mealworm were video analysed. 2. Results were consistent with the bats using the same basic control procedure in the quite different approach tasks--namely keeping tau (r) = kr and tau (a)/tau (r) = k alpha r. Here r is the current distance to the desti...
Article
Healthy term infants and infants classified as neurologically at-risk because of low birthweight and preterm birth were tested longitudinally between 20 and 48 weeks on the ability to use visual information predictively. Reaching for an object moving at different speeds was assessed; the object was occluded from view by a screen during the last par...
Article
Full-text available
Arm movements made by newborn babies are usually dismissed as unintentional, purposeless, or reflexive. Spontaneous arm-waving movements were recorded while newborns lay supine facing to one side. They were allowed to see only the arm they were facing, only the opposite arm on a video monitor, or neither arm. Small forces pulled on their wrists in...
Chapter
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Echolocation in bats is one of the most demanding adaptations of hearing to be found in any animal. Transforming the information carried by sounds into perceptual images depicting the location and identity of objects rapidly enough to control the decisions and reactions of a swiftly flying bat is a prodigious task for the auditory system to accompl...
Article
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Steering a car requires visual information from the changing pattern of the road ahead. There are many theories about what features a driver might use, and recent attempts to engineer self-steering vehicles have sharpened interest in the mechanisms involved. However, there is little direct information linking steering performance to the driver's di...
Chapter
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Article
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Catching a moving object requires the ability to predict the future trajectory of the object. To test whether infants can use visual information predictively, reaching for a toy moving at different speeds was investigated in six infants around 11 months of age. The toy was occluded from view by a screen during the last part of its approach. Gaze ar...
Chapter
A bird, like any animal, has to control its actions through perception and thereby couple itself to the environment. Furthermore, it has to control its actions prospectively, which means that it requires predictive perceptual information to guide its current movement for future ends.
Article
The sites and routes that children of different ages considered to be safe to cross the road were investigated. In Expt 1, children aged 5, 7, 9 and 11 years were instructed to choose ‘the safest’ crossing sites and routes to specified destinations. The results showed a gradual developmental shift with safer, more adult-like choices appearing with...
Article
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1. Using echolocation, bats move as gracefully as birds through the cluttered environment, suggesting common principles of optic and acoustic guidance. We tested the idea by analysing braking control of bats (Macroderma gigas) flying through a narrow aperture with eyes covered and uncovered. 2. Though braking control would seem to require rapid det...
Article
Body movements of trampolinists landing upright from forward somersaults, with eyes open and closed, were analyzed to test a theory of how braking and timing of actions are conjointly controlled. In regulating landing, rotation has to be slowed by extending the body so that it reaches the upright just as the feet hit the trampoline. Extending a the...
Article
Young children's vulnerability as pedestrians has often been attributed to deficiencies in their decision making about vehicle approach times. Some studies have found a preponderance of risky decisions below the age of eight years. In contrast, studies using a closer simulation of road crossing, known as the pretend road, have found a preponderance...
Article
Young children show poor judgment when asked to select safe places to cross the road and frequently consider dangerous sites to be safe ones. Thus, a sharp bend, the brow of a hill or positions close to parked cars are considered safe places to cross by most children under 9 years of age. This study examined the effectiveness of two practical train...
Article
In order to examine the possibility that children with cerebral palsy (CP) find abstract tasks, such as extending the arm as much as possible, more difficult than concrete tasks, such as reaching to grasp an object, nine hemiparetic children with CP and 12 nursery-school children were tested with both a concrete and an abstract task. The children w...
Article
In order to examine the possibility that children with cereral palsy (CP) find abstract tasks, such as extending the arm as much as possible, more difficult than concrete tasks, such as reaching to grasp an object, nine hemiparetic children with CP and 12 nursery-school children were tested with both a concrete and an abstract task. The children wi...
Article
Research into stabilization of gaze has concentrated on how the eyes counterrotate to compensate for head rotation. There is little information on how head movements function as an integral part of gaze stabilization. The head and eye coordination of six adults and six infants was tested under two conditions: tracking a moving target when the body...
Article
Five-year-old children were trained in road-crossing skill using a new method which allows them to act safely in relation to vehicles on a normal road. The children learned to time their crossings of a "pretend road" as if the vehicles were on this, rather than on the adjacent road. A previous study, using a single lane of traffic, showed that many...
Article
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Running over uneven ground requires visually regulating step length to secure proper footing. To examine how this is achieved, we studied subjects running on a treadmill on a series of irregularly spaced targets. The movements of their lower limbs and coccyx relative to the targets were monitored opto-electronically by a Selspot system. The results...
Chapter
Full-text available
One of the most remarkable aspects of motor skill is the precision with which actions can be timed. In this chapter we will be concerned with the control of actions whose timing is dictated by how the organism is moving relative to the environment, as in locomotion, or by how an object is moving relative to the organism, as in catching or hitting s...
Book
This volume contains chapters derived from a N. A. T. O. Advanced Study Institute held in June 1983. As the director of this A. S. I. it was my hope that some of the e1ectrophysiologists could express the potentialities of their work for perceptual theory, and that some perceptionists could speculate on the underlying "units" of perception in a way...
Article
A simple and safe method is proposed for giving children practical experience similar to crossing the road and for assessing their performance. The method comprises a ‘pretend road’ laid out on the pavement, which the child crosses as if crossing the adjacent road in the face of oncoming vehicles. A comparison of adult performances in crossing thro...
Article
To investigate the timing of actions relative to events in the environment, we observed subjects leaping to punch a falling ball. We analysed their knee and elbow angles as functions of time for three ball-drop heights, finding that the differences in the functions for the different heights could be explained on the basis that the subjects were gea...
Article
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The way in which gait is regulated to meet the demands of the terrain was investigated by analyzing the movements of 3 skilled female long jumpers (aged 18, 19, and 22 yrs) during their run-up to the takeoff board. Analysis revealed that the run-up consists of 2 phases: (a) an initial accelerative phase, ending about 6 m from the board, during whic...
Article
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Getting around the environment and doing things requires precise timing of body movements. Moreover, there is often little time available to pick up the visual information to organize the action. Consider, for instance, a batsman hitting a fast bowler or a bird alighting on a twig swaying in the wind. The visual and motor systems evidently work in...
Chapter
Activity takes place in a space-time world. It therefore requires spatio-temporal information for its guidance. Where does this information come from? Since activity involves movement relative to the environment it generates a constantly changing optic array at the eye-a spatio-temporal optic flow field. This paper sets out to examine the cooperati...
Article
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As a basis for understanding the visual system, we need to consider the functions that vision has to perform, which are pre-eminently in the service of activity, and the circumstances in which it normally operates, namely when the head is moving. The fundamental ecological stimulus for vision is not a camera-like time-frozen image but a constantly...
Article
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.— How is locomotion controlled? What information is necessary and how is it used? It is first of all argued that the classical twofold division of information into ex-teroceptive and proprioceptive is inadequate and confusing, that three fundamental types of information need to be distinguished and that the information is used in a continual proce...
Article
Full-text available
A theory is presented of how a driver might visually control his braking. A mathematical analysis of the changing optic array at the driver's eye indicates that the simplest type of visual information, which would be sufficient for controlling braking and would also be likely to be easily picked up by the driver, is information about time-to-collis...
Article
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Conducted 2 experiments with 24 undergraduates and 30 15-29 yr olds. Results show that vision functions proprioceptively as an integral component of the control system for maintaining a stance. In several stances, Ss' body sway could be controlled by moving their surroundings (i.e., by manipulating their visual proprioceptive information about body...
Article
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Human infants learning to stand use visual proprioceptive information about body sway in order to maintain stable posture. Moreover, the visual proprioceptive information is more potent than the nonvisual. This is shown by an experiment in which infants were caused to sway and even fall forward or backward in response to appropriate visual stimulat...
Article
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Kinaesthesis, the sensing of body movement, which is essential for controlling activity, depends on registering the changes which accompany body movement. While there are two basic types of changes - mechanical (articular, cutaneous, and vestibular) and visual - and so two potential sources of kinaesthetic information, the mechanical changes have t...
Article
Two correlated random-dot Julesz patterns, that produce apparent lateral motion of a textured surface when flashed once in succession at an appropriate ISI, were flashed repetitively in temporal alternation. If the two ISI's in the stimulus sequence were each appropriate to apparent motion, perceived to-and-fro motion of the textured surface would...
Article
A time-dependent visual illusion was studied to contrast the 'perceptual moment' hypothesis with the concept of 'persistence of vision.' The experimental results were formally consistent with either concept. However, the perceptual-moment hypothesis that fits the data is one in which the duration of the 'moment' is variable and determined by stimul...
Article
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Binocular stereopsis has traditionally been studied mainly under static viewing conditions. There has consequently been the tendency to view binocular stereopsis only in terms of the pickup of purely spatial (time-frozen) disparity. However, whenever there is movement of objects or the 0, the structure of the light entering each eye undergoes conti...
Article
When a target, oscillating with pendulum-like motion in a frontal plane and illuminated by a stroboscope flashing at about 20 c/s, is binocularly viewed with an attenuating filter over one eye, the target appears to move in depth along a shallow horizontal elliptical path. The apparent depth-shift of the target was measured for several interocular...
Article
Information about movement (i.e. kinetic information) is picked up bmocularly from a disparate pair of time-varying optical inputs by means of a perceptual spatio-temporal integration process. The nature of this process was investigated by alternating the exposures of a moving target to the two eyes, and systematically varying both the temporal and...
Article
The stereoscopic shadow-caster is a simple and versatile instrument for the study of binocular stereopsis under kinetic viewing conditions, for objects in the stereoscopic scene can be easily moved, either by the experimenter or the observer, and the observer can move and interact with them. Thus the instrument is suitable for use with human infant...

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