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Effects of short-term adaptation of saccadic gaze amplitude on hand-pointing movements.

  • Kröller, J
  • De Graaf, J B
  • Prablanc, C
  • Pélisson, D
Published Article
Experimental brain research
Publication Date
Feb 01, 1999
PMID: 9989441


We investigated whether and how adaptive changes in saccadic amplitudes (short-term saccadic adaptation) modify hand movements when subjects are involved in a pointing task to visual targets without vision of the hand. An experiment consisted of the pre-adaptation test of hand pointing (placing the finger tip on a LED position), a period of adaptation, and a post-adaptation test of hand pointing. In a basic task (transfer paradigm A), the pre- and post-adaptation trials were performed without accompanying eye and head movements: in the double-step gaze adaptation task, subjects had to fixate a single, suddenly displaced visual target by moving eyes and head in a natural way. Two experimental sessions were run with the visual target jumping during the saccades, either backwards (from 30 to 20 degrees, gaze saccade shortening) or onwards (30 to 40 degrees, gaze saccade lengthening). Following gaze-shortening adaptation (level of adaptation 79+/-10%, mean and s.d.), we found a statistically significant shift (t-test, error level P<0.05) in the final hand-movement points, possibly due to adaptation transfer, representing 15.2% of the respective gaze adaptation. After gaze-lengthening adaptation (level of adaptation 92+/-17%). a non-significant shift occurred in the opposite direction to that expected from adaptation transfer. The applied computations were also performed on some data of an earlier transfer paradigm (B, three target displacements at a time) with gain shortening. They revealed a significant transfer relative to the amount of adaptation of 18.5< or = 17.5% (P<0.05). In the coupling paradigm (C), we studied the influence of gaze saccade adaptation of hand-pointing movements with concomitant orienting gaze shifts. The adaptation levels achieved were 59+/-20% (shortening) and 61+/-27% (lengthening). Shifts in the final fingertip positions were congruent with internal coupling between gaze and hand, representing 53% of the respective gaze-amplitude changes in the shortening session and 6% in the lengthening session. With an adaptation transfer of less than 20% (paradigm A and B), we concluded that saccadic adaptation does not "automatically" produce a functionally meaningful change in the skeleto-motor system controlling hand-pointing movements. In tasks with concomitant gaze saccades (coupling paradigm C), the modification of hand pointing by the adapted gaze comes out more clearly, but only in the shortening session.

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