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Relative errors can cue absolute visuomotor mappings

van Dam, LCJ and Ernst, MO (2015) 'Relative errors can cue absolute visuomotor mappings.' Experimental Brain Research, 233 (12). 3367 - 3377. ISSN 0014-4819

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Abstract

© 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. When repeatedly switching between two visuomotor mappings, e.g. in a reaching or pointing task, adaptation tends to speed up over time. That is, when the error in the feedback corresponds to a mapping switch, fast adaptation occurs. Yet, what is learned, the relative error or the absolute mappings? When switching between mappings, errors with a size corresponding to the relative difference between the mappings will occur more often than other large errors. Thus, we could learn to correct more for errors with this familiar size (Error Learning). On the other hand, it has been shown that the human visuomotor system can store several absolute visuomotor mappings (Mapping Learning) and can use associated contextual cues to retrieve them. Thus, when contextual information is present, no error feedback is needed to switch between mappings. Using a rapid pointing task, we investigated how these two types of learning may each contribute when repeatedly switching between mappings in the absence of task-irrelevant contextual cues. After training, we examined how participants changed their behaviour when a single error probe indicated either the often-experienced error (Error Learning) or one of the previously experienced absolute mappings (Mapping Learning). Results were consistent with Mapping Learning despite the relative nature of the error information in the feedback. This shows that errors in the feedback can have a double role in visuomotor behaviour: they drive the general adaptation process by making corrections possible on subsequent movements, as well as serve as contextual cues that can signal a learned absolute mapping.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RE Ophthalmology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2016 13:17
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2017 17:25
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/17323

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