Environmental experience within and across testing days determines the strength of human visuomotor adaptation

Jennifer A. Semrau, Amy L. Daitch, Kurt A. Thoroughman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The use of vision allows us to guide and modify our movements by appropriately transforming external sensory information into proper motor commands. We investigated how people learned visuomotor transformations in different visual feedback environments. These environments presented perturbations of visual sense of movement direction. Across experiments and testing days, we altered the likelihood of visual perturbation occurrence and the distribution of sign and strength of visual perturbation angles. We then observed how transformation of sensed error into incremental adaptation depended on visual perturbation angle and on environmental experience. We found that environmental context affected adaptive responses within a day and across days. The across-day effect was profound enough that people exhibited very weak or very strong adaptive sensitivity to identical stimuli, dependent solely on prior days' experience. We conclude that trial-by-trial adaptation to visual feedback is not fixed, but dependent on environmental experiences on both short and long time scales.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-418
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • Adaptation
  • Kinematics
  • Reaching
  • Visuomotor control


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