Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 203, Issue 1, pp 75–87 | Cite as

Learning a visuomotor rotation: simultaneous visual and proprioceptive information is crucial for visuomotor remapping

  • Britne A. Shabbott
  • Robert L. SainburgEmail author
Research Article


Visuomotor adaptation is mediated by errors between intended and sensory-detected arm positions. However, it is not clear whether visual-based errors that are shown during the course of motion lead to qualitatively different or more efficient adaptation than errors shown after movement. For instance, continuous visual feedback mediates online error corrections, which may facilitate or inhibit the adaptation process. We addressed this question by manipulating the timing of visual error information and task instructions during a visuomotor adaptation task. Subjects were exposed to a visuomotor rotation, during which they received continuous visual feedback (CF) of hand position with instructions to correct or not correct online errors, or knowledge-of-results (KR), provided as a static hand-path at the end of each trial. Our results showed that all groups improved performance with practice, and that online error corrections were inconsequential to the adaptation process. However, in contrast to the CF groups, the KR group showed relatively small reductions in mean error with practice, increased inter-trial variability during rotation exposure, and more limited generalization across target distances and workspace. Further, although the KR group showed improved performance with practice, after-effects were minimal when the rotation was removed. These findings suggest that simultaneous visual and proprioceptive information is critical in altering neural representations of visuomotor maps, although delayed error information may elicit compensatory strategies to offset perturbations.


Visuomotor adaptation Visuomotor rotation Feedback Vision Knowledge-of-results 



We thank Marisa Alcaro for participant recruitment and scholarly discussions regarding this manuscript. This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grant #R01HD39311.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Huck Institutes of the Life SciencesThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.The Department of KinesiologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  3. 3.The Department of NeurologyPenn State Hershey Medical CenterHersheyUSA

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