Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 204, Issue 2, pp 145–162 | Cite as

Saccade adaptation as a model of learning in voluntary movements

  • Yoshiki Iwamoto
  • Yuki Kaku


Motor learning ensures the accuracy of our daily movements. However, we know relatively little about its mechanisms, particularly for voluntary movements. Saccadic eye movements serve to bring the image of a visual target precisely onto the fovea. Their accuracy is maintained not by on-line sensory feedback but by a learning mechanism, called saccade adaptation. Recent studies on saccade adaptation have provided valuable additions to our knowledge of motor learning. This review summarizes what we know about the characteristics and neural mechanisms of saccade adaptation, emphasizing recent findings and new ideas. Long-term adaptation, distinct from its short-term counterpart, seems to be present in the saccadic system. Accumulating evidence indicates the involvement of the oculomotor cerebellar vermis as a learning site. The superior colliculus is now suggested not only to generate saccade commands but also to issue driving signals for motor learning. These and other significant contributions have advanced our understanding of saccade adaptation and motor learning in general.


Saccade Adaptation Motor learning Cerebellum Movement error Instructive signal 



We thank Masahiko Fujita for his comments on the earlier version of the manuscript and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive criticisms. We also thank Kozo Kobayashi for building laboratory facilities and the staff at the Corporation for Production and Research of Laboratory Primates for their help in surgery and veterinary care of our monkeys. We are grateful to Flaminia Miyamasu for her grammatical revision of the text.


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© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Kansei Behavioral Brain Sciences, Graduate School of Comprehensive Human ScienceUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of Health SciencesUekusa Gakuen UniversityChibaJapan

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