Visual feedback during motor performance is associated with increased complexity and adaptability of motor and neural output

Behav Brain Res. 2019 Dec 30;376:112214. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2019.112214. Epub 2019 Sep 5.


Complex motor behavior is believed to be dependent on sensorimotor integration - the neural process of using sensory input to plan, guide, and correct movements. Previous studies have shown that the complexity of motor output is low when sensory feedback is withheld during precision motor tasks. However, much of this research has focused on motor behavior rather than neural processing, and therefore, has not specifically assessed the role of sensorimotor neural functioning in the execution of complex motor behavior. The present study uses a stimulus-tracking task with simultaneous electroencephalography (EEG) recording to assess the effect of visual feedback on motor performance, motor complexity, and sensorimotor neural processing in healthy adults. The complexity of the EEG signal was analyzed to capture the information content in frequency bands (alpha and beta) and scalp regions (central, parietal, and occipital) that are associated with sensorimotor processing. Consistent with previous literature, motor performance and its complexity were higher when visual feedback was provided relative to when it was withheld. The complexity of the neural signal was also higher when visual feedback was provided. This was most robust at frequency bands (alpha and beta) and scalp regions (parietal and occipital) associated with sensorimotor processing. The findings show that visual feedback increases the information available to the brain when generating complex, adaptive motor output.

Keywords: Autism; Electroencephalography; Entropy; Sensorimotor integration; Stereotypy; motor control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Feedback, Physiological / physiology
  • Feedback, Sensory / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Movement / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Sensorimotor Cortex / physiology*