Invariant errors reveal limitations in motor correction rather than constraints on error sensitivity

Commun Biol. 2018 Mar 22;1:19. doi: 10.1038/s42003-018-0021-y. eCollection 2018.


Implicit sensorimotor adaptation is traditionally described as a process of error reduction, whereby a fraction of the error is corrected for with each movement. Here, in our study of healthy human participants, we characterize two constraints on this learning process: the size of adaptive corrections is only related to error size when errors are smaller than 6°, and learning functions converge to a similar level of asymptotic learning over a wide range of error sizes. These findings are problematic for current models of sensorimotor adaptation, and point to a new theoretical perspective in which learning is constrained by the size of the error correction, rather than sensitivity to error.