Flexible strategies for sensory integration during motor planning

Nat Neurosci. 2005 Apr;8(4):490-7. doi: 10.1038/nn1427. Epub 2005 Mar 27.


When planning target-directed reaching movements, human subjects combine visual and proprioceptive feedback to form two estimates of the arm's position: one to plan the reach direction, and another to convert that direction into a motor command. These position estimates are based on the same sensory signals but rely on different combinations of visual and proprioceptive input, suggesting that the brain weights sensory inputs differently depending on the computation being performed. Here we show that the relative weighting of vision and proprioception depends both on the sensory modality of the target and on the information content of the visual feedback, and that these factors affect the two stages of planning independently. The observed diversity of weightings demonstrates the flexibility of sensory integration and suggests a unifying principle by which the brain chooses sensory inputs so as to minimize errors arising from the transformation of sensory signals between coordinate frames.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Feedback
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Kinesthesis
  • Male
  • Models, Neurological
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Proprioception / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Sensation / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*