Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 212, Issue 2, pp 213–224 | Cite as

Visual target separation determines the extent of generalisation between opposing visuomotor rotations

  • Daniel G. Woolley
  • Aymar de Rugy
  • Richard G. Carson
  • Stephan Riek
Research Article


Here we investigated the influence of angular separation between visual and motor targets on concurrent adaptation to two opposing visuomotor rotations. We inferred the extent of generalisation between opposing visuomotor rotations at individual target locations based on whether interference (negative transfer) was present. Our main finding was that dual adaptation occurred to opposing visuomotor rotations when each was associated with different visual targets but shared a common motor target. Dual adaptation could have been achieved either within a single sensorimotor map (i.e. with different mappings associated with different ranges of visual input), or by forming two different internal models (the selection of which would be based on contextual information provided by target location). In the present case, the pattern of generalisation was dependent on the relative position of the visual targets associated with each rotation. Visual targets nearest the workspace of the opposing visuomotor rotation exhibited the most interference (i.e. generalisation). When the minimum angular separation between visual targets was increased, the extent of interference was reduced. These results suggest that the separation in the range of sensory inputs is the critical requirement to support dual adaptation within a single sensorimotor mapping.


Motor learning Motor adaptation Sensorimotor transformation Motor control Interference Generalisation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel G. Woolley
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Aymar de Rugy
    • 2
  • Richard G. Carson
    • 2
    • 3
  • Stephan Riek
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical KinesiologyResearch Centre for Movement Control and NeuroplasticityHeverleeBelgium
  2. 2.Perception and Motor Systems LaboratoryThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.School of PsychologyQueen’s University BelfastBelfastNorthern Ireland, UK

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