Visuomotor perturbation in a continuous circle tracing task: novel approach for quantifying motor adaptation

Sci Rep. 2019 Dec 10;9(1):18679. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-55241-4.


The study of motor adaptation certainly has advanced greatly through the years and helped to shed light on the mechanisms of motor learning. Most paradigms used to study adaptation employ a discrete approach, where people adapt in successive attempts. Continuous tasks on the other hand, while known to possess different characteristics than discrete ones, have received little attention regarding the study motor adaptation. In this paper, we test for adaptation using a continuous circle tracing task with a visuomotor gain perturbation. To examine the feasibility of this task, 45 normal subjects divided into 3 groups were tested for adaptation, aftereffects, and generalization. All subjects exhibited a gradual adaptation when faced with a perturbation as well as opposite aftereffects once the perturbation was removed. Aftereffects tended to persist unless veridical feedback was given. The task generalized well both in size and in space. We believe that this task, by being continuous, could allow for a thorough investigation of visuomotor adaptation to gain perturbations in particular, and perhaps be expanded to other types of adaptations as well, especially when used alongside discrete tasks.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Adolescent
  • Attention
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Feedback
  • Female
  • Generalization, Psychological
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Male
  • Motor Skills*
  • Movement*
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology*
  • Young Adult