Are fast/slow process in motor adaptation and forward/inverse internal model two sides of the same coin?

Med Hypotheses. 2013 Oct;81(4):592-600. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2013.07.009. Epub 2013 Jul 27.


Motor adaptation is tuning of motor commands to compensate the disturbances in the outside environment and/or in the sensory-motor system. In spite of various theoretical and empirical studies, mechanism by which the brain learns to adapt has not been clearly understood. Among different computational models, two lines of researches are of interest in this study: first, the models which assume two adaptive processes, i.e. fast and slow, for motor learning, and second, the computational frameworks which assume two types of internal models in the central nervous system (CNS), i.e., forward and inverse models. They explain motor learning by modifying these internal models. Here, we present a hypothesis for a possible relationship between these two viewpoints according to the computational and physiological findings. This hypothesis suggests a direct relationship between the forward (inverse) internal model and the fast (slow) adaptive process. That is, the forward (inverse) model and fast (slow) adaptive process can be two sides of the same coin. Further evaluation of this hypothesis is helpful to achieve a better understanding of motor adaptation mechanism in the brain and also it lends itself to be used in designing therapeutic programs for rehabilitation of certain movement disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology*
  • Central Nervous System / physiology*
  • Computational Biology
  • Feedback, Physiological / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Motor Activity / physiology*