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Milad Modabber, Jason Neva, Manvir Gill, Ian Budge, Denise Henriques; Learning and retaining visuomotor adaptation across time. Journal of Vision 2008;8(6):610. doi: 10.1167/8.6.610.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Many studies have shown that the brain can learn to adjust movements to correct for altered visual feedback of the hand when reaching to targets. It is unclear how well brain can learn these adjustments when there are significant gaps in time between brief sessions compared to a single session and how long visuomotor learning is retained. How do delays in time affect learning and later retrieving a novel visuomotor mapping? In Study 1, participants adapted to altered visual feedback of the hand when reaching to visual targets in a single session of 100 trials and across five shorter weekly sessions of 20 trials each. In Study 2, another group of participants learned a similar visuomotor mapping across 200 trials and were retested on the same task 6–8 weeks, 2–3 or 5–6 months later. Results for Study 1 showed that participants had similar learning patterns for a single session compared to weekly sessions. We saw no significant difference in the overall learning rate, and the gaps between sessions did not lead to any loss of previous learning. This indicates that the brain does not need continuous reaching practice but rather it can adapt to this new visuomotor mapping with 7-day gaps between shorter reaching sessions. Preliminary results for Study 2 show that participants retained a substantial amount of visuomotor adaptation over time. We found that deviations in reaching were smaller when participants performed the same task 6–8 weeks after the first visuomotor adaptation session. Our results suggest that the learned visuomotor mapping may last over longer time frames of 2–3, and 5–6 months. We are currently collecting these data. Our results from Study 1 and 2 suggest that the brain is able to learn and retain visuomotor adaptations over time.
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