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J Mot Behav. 2012;44(6):435-44. doi: 10.1080/00222895.2012.659232.

Visuomotor adaptation and proprioceptive recalibration.

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Centre for Vision Research, School of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University, Toronto, Canada M3J 1P3.


Motor learning, in particular motor adaptation, is driven by information from multiple senses. For example, when arm control is faulty, vision, touch, and proprioception can all report on the arm's movements and help guide the adjustments necessary for correcting motor error. In recent years we have learned a lot about how the brain integrates information from multiple senses for the purpose of perception. However, less is known about how multisensory data guide motor learning. Most models of, and studies on, motor learning focus almost exclusively on the ensuing changes in motor performance without exploring the implications on sensory plasticity. Nor do they consider how discrepancies in sensory information (e.g., vision and proprioception) related to hand position may affect motor learning. Here, we discuss research from our lab and others that shows how motor learning paradigms affect proprioceptive estimates of hand position, and how even the mere discrepancy between visual and proprioceptive feedback can affect learning and plasticity. Our results suggest that sensorimotor learning mechanisms do not exclusively rely on motor plasticity and motor memory, and that sensory plasticity, in particular proprioceptive recalibration, plays a unique and important role in motor learning.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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