Temporally stable adaptation is robust, specific and incomplete

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Sensorimotor adaptation, the process that reduces movement errors by learning from sensory feedback, is often studied within a session of about half an hour. Within such a single session, adaptation generally reaches plateau before errors are completely removed. However, adaptation may complete on longer timescales: the slow components of error-based adaptation are associated with good retention. In this study, we tested how adaptation evolves over time by asking participants to perform six adaptation sessions on different days. In these sessions, participants performed a three-dimensional reaching task while visual feedback about endpoint errors was rotated around the cyclopean eye. In addition, context specificity of the adaptation was addressed by measuring inter-limb transfer and transfer to visual and proprioceptive perceptual tasks. We show that from the second session on, the adaptation was retained almost completely across sessions. However, after six learning sessions, adaptation still reached plateau before errors were completely removed. The adaptation was specific: the adaptation did neither transfer to the other hand, nor to the visual, and only marginally to the proprioceptive perceptual estimates. We conclude that motor adaptation is robust, specific and incomplete.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2708-2715
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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