Deafferentation and pointing with visual double-step perturbations

Exp Brain Res. 1999 Apr;125(4):410-6. doi: 10.1007/s002210050697.


The capability of reprogramming movement responses following changes in the visual goal has been studied through the double-step paradigm. These studies have shown that: (a) continuous internal feedback-loops correct unconsciously the dynamic errors throughout the movement; (b) proprioceptive information and/or the efference copy have a privileged status among central processes, insuring on-line regulation of the initial motor commands; and (c) generation of the motor program starts after target presentation, and is continuously updated in the direction of the current internal representation of the target, at least until the onset of hand movement. This main corrective process of the initial program appears to be basically independent of visual reafference from the moving hand. However, the agreement with the possibility of a visuomotor loop, based on the comparison of the new updated representation of the target position and on the information from the moving hand, has not determined whether the correcting process is proprioceptive feedback dependent, or whether internal feedback-loops (efferent copies) are responsible for quick corrections of unfolding motor responses. To answer this question, the present experiment investigated the pointing behavior of a deafferented subject, using a double-step paradigm under various conditions of visual feedback and movement initiation. Overall, the present study (a) clearly showed the capacity of the motor system to modify and correct erroneous trajectories on the mere basis of internal feedback-loops and (b) emphasized the crucial role played by the target jump/arm triggering delay and the importance of the eye efferent copy for providing information about the spatial goal of the movement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / physiology*
  • Female
  • Hand / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Proprioception / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*