Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 172, Issue 1, pp 77–84 | Cite as

Adaptation to visual feedback delays in manual tracking: evidence against the Smith Predictor model of human visually guided action

  • R. C. MiallEmail author
  • J. K.  Jackson
Research Article


We report adaptation to delayed visual feedback during a manual tracking task, testing the nature of the adapted responses with frequency analysis. Two groups of seven subjects tracked unpredictable targets using a handheld joystick, alternating between pursuit and compensatory display trials. The test group then practised for 1 h per day with a visual feedback delay of 300 ms; the control group practice under normal undelayed conditions. Introduction of the visual feedback delay significantly disrupted tracking performance, with an increase in errors and a reduction in frequency of corrective movements. Subjects showed clear evidence of adaptation during the 5 day experiment, decreasing tracking error and decreasing the mean power of intermittent corrections. However, there was no evidence of a return towards the initial high frequency intermittent tracking. We suggest that the adaptation observed in this study reflects the modification of predictive feedforward actions, but that these data do not support control based on Smith Prediction.


Visual Feedback Tracking Error Error Score Catch Trial Tracking Mode 
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This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust. JKJ was partly supported by the School of Psychology. We thank Jonathan Winter for expert technical assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Behavioural Brain Sciences, School of PsychologyUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK

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