The contribution of visual feedback to visuomotor adaptation: how much and when?

Brain Res. 2008 Mar 4:1197:123-34. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2007.12.067. Epub 2008 Jan 11.


We investigated the role of visual feedback in adapting to novel visuomotor environments. Participants produced isometric elbow torques to move a cursor towards visual targets. Following trials with no rotation, participants adapted to a 60 degrees rotation of the visual feedback before returning to the non-rotated condition. Participants received continuous visual feedback (CF) of cursor position during task execution or post-trial visual feedback (PF). With training, reductions of the angular deviations of the cursor path occurred to a similar extent and at a similar rate for CF and PF groups. However, upon re-exposure to the non-rotated environment only CF participants exhibited post-training aftereffects, manifested as increased angular deviation of the cursor path, with respect to the pre-rotation trials. These aftereffects occurred despite colour cues permitting identification of the change in environment. The results show that concurrent feedback permits automatic recalibration of the visuomotor mapping while post-trial feedback permits performance improvement via a cognitive strategy.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology*
  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Feedback / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Reaction Time
  • Visual Perception / physiology