Sheets-Johnstone Kinesthetic Memory

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This paper attempts to elucidate the nature of kinesthetic rnemory, demonstrate its centrality to everyday human movement, and thereby promote fresh cognitive and phenomenological understandings of movernent in everyday life. Prominent topics in this underlaking include kinesthesia, dynamics, and habit. The endeavor has both a critical and constructive dirnension. The constrlrctive dimension is anchored in Luria's seminal notion of a kinetic r-nelody and in related phenomenological analyses of movement. The dual anchorage stems from the general fact that kinesthetic l-ìlelnory is based on kinesthetic experience, hence on the bodily felt dynamics of movernent, and on the particular fact that any movement creates a distinctive kinetic dynamics in virtue of its spatio-temporal-energic qualities. The critical dimension focuses on coÍìstmcts that comrnonly anchor discr,rssions of lnovement but bypass the reality of a kinetic clynamics, notably, Merleau-Ponty's "n'ìotor intentionality," and the notions of a body schema and body image. The pointillist conception of movelnent and the Western rnetaphysics that undergird these constructs is exanined rn the concluding section of the paper.

Text of Sheets-Johnstone Kinesthetic Memory

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    68 Shaun Gallagher

    Gibson, J. I. 1919. The Ecological Approach to Visttal Perceptiott. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin.

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    Studies, 5 (3):260-94Sherrington, C. 1953. Man on His Natw"e,2nd ed. New York: Doubleday.Slroernaker, S. 1994. Self-knowledge and 'innel sense'. Pltilosophy ancl Phettontenological

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    Shoetnaker, S. 1984. Identity, Cause, and Mind. Carnbridge: Cambridge University Pless.Shoetnaker, S. 1968. Self-refelence and self-awareness. Jotuttctl of Philosophy, 65 555 61.Strawson, P. F. 1994. The fir'st persorl and othels. In Cassarn, Q. (ed.). Self-Knowledge

    (pp. 210 215). Oxford: Oxfold University Press.Tlevalthen, C. B. 1986. Neuroernbryology and the development of perceptual r.nechanisrs.

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    THEORIA ET HISTORIA SCIENTIARUM, VOL. VII, N" 1Ed. Nicolas Copernicus University 2003

    Maxine Sheets-Johnstone

    Kinesthetic Memory

    This paper attempts to elucidate the nature of kinesthetic rnemory, demonstrate itscentrality to everyday human movement, and thereby promote fresh cognitive andphenomenological understandings of movernent in everyday life. Prominent topicsin this underlaking include kinesthesia, dynamics, and habit. The endeavor hasboth a critical and constructive dirnension. The constrlrctive dimension is anchoredin Luria's seminal notion of a kinetic r-nelody and in related phenomenologicalanalyses of movement. The dual anchorage stems from the general fact thatkinesthetic l-lelnory is based on kinesthetic experience, hence on the bodily feltdynamics of movernent, and on the particular fact that any movement createsa distinctive kinetic dynamics in virtue of its spatio-temporal-energic qualities.The critical dimension focuses on costmcts that comrnonly anchor discr,rssions oflnovement but bypass the reality of a kinetic clynamics, notably, Merleau-Ponty's"n'otor intentionality," and the notions of a body schema and body image. Thepointillist conception of movelnent and the Western rnetaphysics that undergirdthese constructs is exanined rn the concluding section of the paper.

    Luria's Kinetic- and Kinesthetically-Informed Neuropsychology

    Russian neuropsychologist Aleksandr Romanovich Luria is regarded "a fonndingfather of neuropsychology" (Goldberg 1990), lauded for his insights andnreticulous clinical research (e.g., Teuber 1966,1980; Pribram 1966, 1980). Hedescribes lnovement pathologies as disturbed kinetic rnelodies; everyday lrlove-rnent no longer flows forth in effortless ways, or indeed, is no longer evena possibility for patients with brain lesions. In The Working Broin, Luria describeshow kinetic rnelodies are constituted, using writing as an example. "In the initialstages," he observes,

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    writing depends on melnorizir.rg the graphic fomr of every letter. It takes place thlor-rgha chain of isolated rnotol irnpulses, each of which is responsible fol the perforr.nanceof only one element of the graphic structure; with plactice, this structule of theprocess is radically altered and writing is converted into a single 'kinetic melody,'no longer requiring the mernorizing of the visual forrn of each isolated letter orindividual rnotol ir.npulses for making every stroke (Luria 1973, p.32).He later specifies how voluntary rnovelnent is a "cornplex functional systern,"

    fulfilled in "the perfect perforrnance of a movelnent" on the basis of fourfundarnental conditions: (l) "kinaesthetic afferentalion, (2) a system of "spatialcoordinates" centered on "the visual and vestibular systerns and the system ofclrtaneolrs kinaesthetic sensatior-," (3) a "chain oJ'consecutive movenlenls, eachelemeut of which rnustbe denervated after its completion so as to allow the nextelement to take its place," and (4) a "motor task" which at rnore complex levelsof conscious action "are dictated by intentions" (ibid., pp. 35-37). At theneurological level, voluntary movelnent is thns the orchestlated resr.rlt of"conrpletely different brain systerns" (ibid., p. 37) that work together in sucha way ttrat a kinetic rnelody unfolds.

    Of singular signifrcance is Luria's recognition that voluntaly rnovenrent isnot just a spatial phenomenon but a teruporal phenomenon. Luria in factdistinguishes between the ternporal and spatial distribution of rnotor irnpulses nterms of the prernotol and postcentral cortical zolles, respectively, notiugspecifically that the premotor zones of the brain "are responsible for the"cotlversioti of individual motor impulses into consectitte lcinelic meloclies" (1btd.,p. 119). Earlier, he pointedly ernphasizes that "Movement is always a processwith a temporal coLrse" that "requires a continuous chctin of interchangingmpulse.s" (ibid., p. 176). In this context, he reiterates in rnore genelal terms hisdescriptive acconnt of the origin of kinetic melodies: "In the initial stages offonnation of any rnovernent this chain must consist of a series of isolated irnpulses,with the developrnent of rnotor skills the indiviclual impulses are synthesizedand cornbined into integral lcinaesthetic strLtctures or kinetic tnelodies whcna single impulse is sufficient to activate a cotnplele dynamic stereotype olautonratically interchanging elements" (ibid., p. 116). He later specifies that theconstruction and pcrformance ol any complex trrovercllt clcpcnd on:

    1. an intact frontal lobe, or what he clesignates an intcntionrl "blain zorle";2. kinesthesia, ol what he designates an "integrity o.f its [the movemeut'sJ

    ki naes theti c r{Jerentatiort" ;3. a temporal organization, or what he designates a "constant regulation of

    nntscle tone... ar-rd a sufficiently rapicl aud surooth chcngeover frotn ouesystern of lnotor innelvations to another, with the fonnation of cornpletelcinctesthetic nteloclies in the final stages of developtnent of skilled r-novement"(ibid., pp. 251 53).

    Kinesthefic Mentory 11

    With respect to the latter require1ent, Luria ernphasizes the uecessity of thesecond requirernent kinestlietic afference - citing physiologist NicholasBernstein's detailed studies of movement and its fundamental "degrees offreedorr" (Bernstein 1984, 1996)). As he points out, the degrees of freedorn inhurnan rnovement and the constantly changing tone of the tnttscles "explain whyit is that, in the perfollnance of a voluntary lnovelnent or action, although thetr-otol task preserves its r:egnlatory role, the highest responsibility is transferredfrom e/ferent to af.ferertt irnpulses" (Lr.rria 1973,p.249). Kinesthesia is thus ofrnaxiural significance; successful voluntary tlovetneltt and the fonnation of"a complete dynamic stereotype" depend on it.

    Though not explicitly specified in this way, kinetic r-nelodies are inscribedin tlre body. They are "ttegral lcinaesthetic structttres" (Luria 1973,p.176) andare thus essentially, i.e., in a living, expeliential sense, not brain events butcorporeally resonant ones, in-the-flesh dynamic patterns of tnovelnent that areitttiated and rr.rn off. The rnost basic of kinetic melodies, ones that rnight becalled fundamental rnclodies of life - if not fundamental rnclodiesr life - at'eforged in the course of infancy and childhood, sotne of theln beginning in pre-latal life (Luria 1980, p. 192). In each instance, they are kept alive by kinesthetictnelnory; their inscription in the body is by way of kinesthetic uretlot'y, which isto say by way of distinctive moverent dynatnics. Thus, in nortnal everydayadult life, a kinetic dynarnics unfolds that is at ofce familiar and yetquintessentially tailored kinetically to thc particular situation at hand: a farniliarbut distinctive kinetic dynamics unfolds in articulatoty gestutes as we speak, inlepetitive downward swoops of our ann as we hatnmer, iu subtle, valying shiftsof direction and bendings of our body as we lnove quickly forward alonga crowded sidewalk. The farniliarity of these dynatrics is grounded in iuvariants,invariants of speech, of hammering, of weaving a path arouud obstacles. Theirtaiioring is grounded in the particular situational vagaries for-rncl in the presentexperience: feeling ill at case speaking to this particular persoll, harnmcring withthis new harnnter, weaving our way on this icy sidewalk.

    Kinetic melodies that are inscribed in our bodies are dynamic pattems o