Motor control and learning in altered dynamic environments

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2005 Dec;15(6):653-9. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2005.10.012. Epub 2005 Nov 3.


Dynamic perturbations of reaching movements are an important technique for studying motor learning and adaptation. Adaptation to non-contacting, velocity-dependent inertial Coriolis forces generated by arm movements during passive body rotation is very rapid, and when complete the Coriolis forces are no longer sensed. Adaptation to velocity-dependent forces delivered by a robotic manipulandum takes longer and the perturbations continue to be perceived even when adaptation is complete. These differences reflect adaptive self-calibration of motor control versus learning the behavior of an external object or 'tool'. Velocity-dependent inertial Coriolis forces also arise in everyday behavior during voluntary turn and reach movements but because of anticipatory feedforward motor compensations do not affect movement accuracy despite being larger than the velocity-dependent forces typically used in experimental studies. Progress has been made in understanding: the common features that determine adaptive responses to velocity-dependent perturbations of jaw and limb movements; the transfer of adaptation to mechanical perturbations across different contact sites on a limb; and the parcellation and separate representation of the static and dynamic components of multiforce perturbations.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Coriolis Force
  • Environment
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Movement / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / innervation
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology