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Front Comput Neurosci. 2012 Dec 6;6:96. doi: 10.3389/fncom.2012.00096. eCollection 2012.

Saccadic gain adaptation is predicted by the statistics of natural fluctuations in oculomotor function.

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Sensory Motor Performance Program, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago Chicago, IL, USA ; Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Northwestern University Chicago, IL, USA.


Due to multiple factors such as fatigue, muscle strengthening, and neural plasticity, the responsiveness of the motor apparatus to neural commands changes over time. To enable precise movements the nervous system must adapt to compensate for these changes. Recent models of motor adaptation derive from assumptions about the way the motor apparatus changes. Characterizing these changes is difficult because motor adaptation happens at the same time, masking most of the effects of ongoing changes. Here, we analyze eye movements of monkeys with lesions to the posterior cerebellar vermis that impair adaptation. Their fluctuations better reveal the underlying changes of the motor system over time. When these measured, unadapted changes are used to derive optimal motor adaptation rules the prediction precision significantly improves. Among three models that similarly fit single-day adaptation results, the model that also matches the temporal correlations of the non-adapting saccades most accurately predicts multiple day adaptation. Saccadic gain adaptation is well matched to the natural statistics of fluctuations of the oculomotor plant.


cerebellar vermis; multiple-timescale adaptation; natural statistics; oculomotor system; saccade adaptation

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