Visuomotor adaptive processes were examined by testing transfer of adaptation between similar conditions. Participants made manual aiming movements with a joystick to hit targets on a computer screen, with real-time feedback display of their movement. They adapted to three different rotations of the display in a sequential fashion, with a return to baseline display conditions between rotations. Adaptation was better when participants had prior adaptive experiences. When performance was assessed using direction error (calculated at the time of peak velocity) and initial endpoint error (error before any overt corrective actions), transfer was greater when the final rotation reflected an addition of previously experienced rotations (adaptation order 30° rotation, 15°, 45°) than when it was a subtraction of previously experienced conditions (adaptation order 45° rotation, 15°, 30°). Transfer was equal regardless of adaptation order when performance was assessed with final endpoint error (error following any discrete, corrective actions). These results imply the existence of multiple independent processes in visuomotor adaptation.
The author is with the Dept of Psychology, Division of Kinesiology, and Program in Neuroscience, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.