Composition and decomposition of internal models in motor learning under altered kinematic and dynamic environments

J Neurosci. 1999 Oct 15;19(20):RC34. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.19-20-j0005.1999.


The learning process of reaching movements was examined under novel environments whose kinematic and dynamic properties were altered. We used a kinematic transformation (visuomotor rotation), a dynamic transformation (viscous curl field), and a combination of these transformations. When the subjects learned the combined transformation, reaching errors were smaller if the subject first learned the separate kinematic and dynamic transformations. Reaching errors under the kinematic (but not the dynamic) transformation were smaller if subjects first learned the combined transformation. These results suggest that the brain learns multiple internal models to compensate for each transformation and has some ability to combine and decompose these internal models as called for by the occasion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Female
  • Hand / physiology
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology