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Jennifer K. Dionne, Denise Y. P. Henriques; Interpreting visual information in motor learning. Journal of Vision 2006;6(6):354. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/6.6.354.
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Motor learning often requires generalizing previous experience to new situations. One form of generalization is known as bimanual or intermanual transfer, where learning a new task with one hand affects performance of the other arm on the same task. Our study investigates how intermanual transfer is influenced by the visual feedback available when the task is being learned. Previous studies have shown that learning to reach accurately with an imposed visuomotor rotation requires a remapping of the relationship between vision and motor output, and in this study we examined how well this learned remapping transferred between hands under different visual feedback conditions. In our task subjects learned to make accurate reaches to targets with a visuomotor rotation of 45° in two conditions: with normal visual feedback or with visual feedback of their hand reversed so that the subject's right hand looked like their left hand (or vice versa). After a training period with one hand subjects were tested with the opposite hand on the same task to determine how well the learned remapping transferred to the untrained hand. Preliminary findings suggest that learning the remapping with reversed visual feedback results in more transfer of learning to the untrained hand than learning under non-reversed visual feedback conditions. These results suggest that the visual feedback available during motor learning affects generalization to the untrained limb. More specifically, our learning mechanisms adjust motor commands to the limb based not only on proprioception and efference copy but also using visual feedback about the limb.
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