Action history influences subsequent movement via two distinct processes

Elife. 2017 Oct 23:6:e26713. doi: 10.7554/eLife.26713.


The characteristics of goal-directed actions tend to resemble those of previously executed actions, but it is unclear whether such effects depend strictly on action history, or also reflect context-dependent processes related to predictive motor planning. Here we manipulated the time available to initiate movements after a target was specified, and studied the effects of predictable movement sequences, to systematically dissociate effects of the most recently executed movement from the movement required next. We found that directional biases due to recent movement history strongly depend upon movement preparation time, suggesting an important contribution from predictive planning. However predictive biases co-exist with an independent source of bias that depends only on recent movement history. The results indicate that past experience influences movement execution through a combination of temporally-stable processes that are strictly use-dependent, and dynamically-evolving and context-dependent processes that reflect prediction of future actions.

Keywords: human; learning; movement; neuroscience; sensorimotor control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Movement*
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult