Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Neurophysiol. 2012 Jun;107(12):3433-45. doi: 10.1152/jn.00420.2011. Epub 2012 Mar 21.

Visual gravity influences arm movement planning.

Author information

  • 1Department of Robotics, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Genoa, Italy.


When submitted to a visuomotor rotation, subjects show rapid adaptation of visually guided arm reaching movements, indicated by a progressive reduction in reaching errors. In this study, we wanted to make a step forward by investigating to what extent this adaptation also implies changes into the motor plan. Up to now, classical visuomotor rotation paradigms have been performed on the horizontal plane, where the reaching motor plan in general requires the same kinematics (i.e., straight path and symmetric velocity profile). To overcome this limitation, we considered vertical and horizontal movement directions requiring specific velocity profiles. This way, a change in the motor plan due to the visuomotor conflict would be measurable in terms of a modification in the velocity profile of the reaching movement. Ten subjects performed horizontal and vertical reaching movements while observing a rotated visual feedback of their motion. We found that adaptation to a visuomotor rotation produces a significant change in the motor plan, i.e., changes to the symmetry of velocity profiles. This suggests that the central nervous system takes into account the visual information to plan a future motion, even if this causes the adoption of nonoptimal motor plans in terms of energy consumption. However, the influence of vision on arm movement planning is not fixed, but rather changes as a function of the visual orientation of the movement. Indeed, a clear influence on motion planning can be observed only when the movement is visually presented as oriented along the vertical direction. Thus vision contributes differently to the planning of arm pointing movements depending on motion orientation in space.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center