Affordable Access

Access to the full text

Relative errors can cue absolute visuomotor mappings

Authors
  • van Dam, Loes C. J.1, 2
  • Ernst, Marc O.1, 2, 3
  • 1 Universität Bielefeld, Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Universitätsstraße 25, Bielefeld, 33615, Germany , Bielefeld (Germany)
  • 2 Universität Bielefeld, Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC) Center of Excellence, Bielefeld, Germany , Bielefeld (Germany)
  • 3 Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, Tübingen, Germany , Tübingen (Germany)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Experimental Brain Research
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Aug 18, 2015
Volume
233
Issue
12
Pages
3367–3377
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s00221-015-4403-9
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

When repeatedly switching between two visuomotor mappings, e.g. in a reaching or pointing task, adaptation tends to speed up over time. That is, when the error in the feedback corresponds to a mapping switch, fast adaptation occurs. Yet, what is learned, the relative error or the absolute mappings? When switching between mappings, errors with a size corresponding to the relative difference between the mappings will occur more often than other large errors. Thus, we could learn to correct more for errors with this familiar size (Error Learning). On the other hand, it has been shown that the human visuomotor system can store several absolute visuomotor mappings (Mapping Learning) and can use associated contextual cues to retrieve them. Thus, when contextual information is present, no error feedback is needed to switch between mappings. Using a rapid pointing task, we investigated how these two types of learning may each contribute when repeatedly switching between mappings in the absence of task-irrelevant contextual cues. After training, we examined how participants changed their behaviour when a single error probe indicated either the often-experienced error (Error Learning) or one of the previously experienced absolute mappings (Mapping Learning). Results were consistent with Mapping Learning despite the relative nature of the error information in the feedback. This shows that errors in the feedback can have a double role in visuomotor behaviour: they drive the general adaptation process by making corrections possible on subsequent movements, as well as serve as contextual cues that can signal a learned absolute mapping.

Report this publication

Statistics

Seen <100 times