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J Vis. 2008 Aug 22;8(11):12.1-12. doi: 10.1167/8.11.12.

Learning novel mappings from optic flow to the control of action.

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Department of Cognitive Science, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590, USA.


Many perceptual-motor skills can be captured in terms of mappings from information in sensory arrays to movements of the body, but little is known about how these mappings are acquired and updated. The present study demonstrates that people adapt to changes in the dynamics of a controlled system by learning novel mappings from information in optic flow to movement of the system. Two groups of subjects performed a simulated braking task, using a foot pedal to decelerate to a stop at a target. Brake dynamics were manipulated such that deceleration was proportional to pedal position for one group, and both pedal position and current speed for the other group. Both groups adapted to their respective brake dynamics by learning to use different combinations of optic flow field variables, revealing a form of adaptation that has not been previously reported, but likely plays a critical role in robust visuomotor control.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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