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Todd E. Hudson, Michael S. Landy; Adaptation to sensory–motor reflex perturbations is blind to the source of errors. Journal of Vision 2012;12(1):4. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/12.1.4.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
In the study of visual–motor control, perhaps the most familiar findings involve adaptation to externally imposed movement errors. Theories of visual–motor adaptation based on optimal information processing suppose that the nervous system identifies the sources of errors to effect the most efficient adaptive response. We report two experiments using a novel perturbation based on stimulating a visually induced reflex in the reaching arm. Unlike adaptation to an external force, our method induces a perturbing reflex within the motor system itself, i.e., perturbing forces are self-generated. This novel method allows a test of the theory that error source information is used to generate an optimal adaptive response. If the self-generated source of the visually induced reflex perturbation is identified, the optimal response will be via reflex gain control. If the source is not identified, a compensatory force should be generated to counteract the reflex. Gain control is the optimal response to reflex perturbation, both because energy cost and movement errors are minimized. Energy is conserved because neither reflex-induced nor compensatory forces are generated. Precision is maximized because endpoint variance is proportional to force production. We find evidence against source-identified adaptation in both experiments, suggesting that sensory–motor information processing is not always optimal.
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