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Joo-Hyun Song, Patrick Bédard; Effects of attentional states on visuomotor learning. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):655. doi: 10.1167/13.9.655.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To behave adaptively in a changing environment, humans must modify and develop new internal models (IM) via sensory-motor adaptation. This process frequently occurs in a complex environment where other stimuli compete for limited attentional resources. We previously demonstrated that dividing attention had minimal effects on visuomotor adaptation per se but significantly interfered with recall. Here we further hypothesized that attentional states themselves become incorporated within the IM. During learning, all participants performed a dual-task paradigm: a visuomotor adaptation task (45° CCW rotation) and a concurrent attention demanding rapid serial visual presentation task (RSVP) in which a stream of five inverted or upright ‘T’s in different colors appeared sequentially. Then, during recall we manipulated the consistency of attentional states by having different groups of participants perform the same attentional task as during learning (repeat), or a different attentional task within the same (visual) or different (auditory) sensory modality. Thus, there were three "consistent" groups in which divided attentional states were maintained between learning and recall: repeat, visual, and auditory. We also had an inconsistent group who did not perform any attention task during recall and a control group who never performed the attentional task. During learning, visuomotor performance did not differ among groups, suggesting that divided-attention did not interfere with motor error reduction. However, at recall all consistent and control groups performed equivalently and outperformed the inconsistent group. Taken together, we demonstrated that dividing attention does not impair motor error reduction nor memory formation per se as all consistent groups recalled the IM with sucess. Rather, attentional states during learning became part of the IM and thus successful IM retrieval depends on the attentional state consistency with initial learning, independent of the specific attentional task used. Thus, our results offer a new view of how attention and procedural motor skills interact.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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