Two key features of sensorimotor adaptation are the directional selectivity of adaptive changes and the interference of adaptations to opposite directions. The present study investigated whether directional selectivity and interference of adaptation are related to executive functions and whether these phenomena differ between two methods for visuomotor adaptation. Subjects adapted at three target directions to clockwise or counterclockwise rotated feedback or to clockwise or counterclockwise target displacements (double steps). Both adaptation methods induce rotations of movement trajectories into the same direction, but provide visual information differently. The results showed that adaptation progressed differently between three targets. When movements adapted clockwise, adaptation was best at the most clockwise located target, and when movements adapted counterclockwise, it was best at the most counterclockwise located target, suggesting that spatial generalization between target directions is related to the direction of motor adaptation. The two adaptation methods produced different adaptation patterns, which indicate a further impact of visual information. A second adaptation to the other and opposite-directed discordance was worse than naive adaptation and washed out the aftereffects from the first adaptation, confirming that both adaptation methods interfered. Executive functions were significant covariate for overall interference and interference of target-specific adaptation. The results suggest that directional selectivity of adaptation is shaped by the direction of motor adaptation and the visual information provided. The interference of both adaptation methods indicates that they share adaptive mechanisms for recalibration. The interference is the lower the better subjects are able to cognitively switch between tasks and to inhibit prepotent responses. Therefore, cognitive functions seem to be involved in the inhibition of non-adequate sensorimotor responses.
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Data of a 26th subject had not been saved due to a computer error.
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Thanks to the staff of the project ‘Cognition in motion’ (Leibniz University Hannover, 60460288) for programming the software and their support during the cognitive testing.
All procedures performed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by the author.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
Conflict of interest
The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.
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Schmitz, G. Interference between adaptation to double steps and adaptation to rotated feedback in spite of differences in directional selectivity. Exp Brain Res 234, 1491–1504 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-016-4559-y
- Visuomotor adaptation
- Directional selectivity
- Executive functions