Visual target distance, but not visual cursor path length produces shifts in motor behavior.

Research paper by Nike N Wendker, Oliver S OS Sack, Christine C Sutter

Indexed on: 29 Mar '14Published on: 29 Mar '14Published in: Frontiers in psychology


When using tools effects in body space and distant space often do not correspond. Findings so far demonstrated that in this case visual feedback has more impact on action control than proprioceptive feedback. The present study varies the dimensional overlap between visual and proprioceptive action effects and investigates its impact on aftereffects in motor responses. In two experiments participants perform linear hand movements on a covered digitizer tablet to produce ∩-shaped cursor trajectories on the display. The shape of hand motion and cursor motion (linear vs. curved) is dissimilar and therefore does not overlap. In one condition the length of hand amplitude and visual target distance is similar and constant while the length of the cursor path is dissimilar and varies. In another condition the length of the hand amplitude varies while the lengths of visual target distance (similar or dissimilar) and cursor path (dissimilar) are constant. First, we found that aftereffects depended on the relation between hand path length and visual target distance, and not on the relation between hand and cursor path length. Second, increasing contextual interference did not reveal larger aftereffects. Finally, data exploration demonstrated a considerable benefit from gain repetitions across trials when compared to gain switches. In conclusion, dimensional overlap between visual and proprioceptive action effects modulates human information processing in visually controlled actions. However, adjustment of the internal model seems to occur very fast for this kind of simple linear transformation, so that the impact of prior visual feedback is fleeting.