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Logo of nihpaAbout Author manuscriptsSubmit a manuscriptNIH Public Access; Author Manuscript; Accepted for publication in peer reviewed journal;
Neuroimage. Author manuscript; available in PMC Feb 1, 2009.
Published in final edited form as:
PMCID: PMC2268716

Neural substrates of visuomotor learning based on improved feedback control and prediction


Motor skills emerge from learning feedforward commands as well as improvements in feedback control. These two components of learning were investigated in a compensatory visuomotor tracking task on a trial-by-trial basis. Between trial learning was characterized with a state-space model to provide smoothed estimates of feedforward and feedback learning, separable from random fluctuations in motor performance and error. The resultant parameters were correlated with brain activity using magnetic resonance imaging. Learning related to the generation of a feedforward command correlated with activity in dorsal premotor cortex, inferior parietal lobule, supplementary motor area and cingulate motor area, supporting a role of these areas in retrieving and executing a predictive motor command. Modulation of feedback control was associated with activity in bilateral posterior superior parietal lobule as well as right ventral premotor cortex. Performance error correlated with activity in a widespread cortical and subcortical network including bilateral parietal, premotor and rostral anterior cingulate cortex as well as the cerebellar cortex. Finally, trial-by-trial changes of kinematics, as measured by mean absolute hand acceleration, correlated with activity in motor cortex and anterior cerebellum. The results demonstrate that incremental, learning dependent changes can be modeled on a trial-by-trial basis and neural substrates for feedforward control of novel motor programs are localized to secondary motor areas.

Keywords: Motor learning, prediction, BOLD, fMRI, human, coordination
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