Sensory recalibration of hand position following visuomotor adaptation

J Neurophysiol. 2009 Dec;102(6):3505-18. doi: 10.1152/jn.00514.2009. Epub 2009 Oct 14.


Goal-directed reaches are rapidly adapted following exposure to misaligned visual feedback of the hand. It has been suggested that these changes in reaches result in sensory recalibration (i.e., realigning proprioceptive estimates of hand position to match the visual estimates). In the current study we tested whether visuomotor adaptation results in recalibration of hand proprioception by comparing subjects' estimates of the position at which they felt their hand was aligned with a reference marker (visual or proprioceptive) before and after aiming with a misaligned cursor. The misaligned cursor was either translated or rotated to the right of the actual hand location. On the estimation trials, we did not allow subjects to freely move their hands into position. Instead, a robot manipulandum either passively positioned the hand (experiments 1 and 2) or subjects moved their hand along a robot-generated constrained pathway (experiments 3 and 4). We found that regardless of experimental manipulation, subjects' proprioceptive estimates of hand position were more biased to the left after visuomotor adaptation. The leftward shift in subjects' estimates was in the same direction and one third of the magnitude of the adapted movement. This suggests that in addition to recalibrating the sensorimotor transformations underlying reaching movements, visuomotor adaptation results in partial proprioceptive recalibration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Bias
  • Feedback, Sensory / physiology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality
  • Hand*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Proprioception / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Reference Values
  • Rotation
  • Visual Perception / physiology*
  • Young Adult