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J Neurosci. 2003 Aug 6;23(18):6982-92.

Multisensory integration during motor planning.

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Department of Physiology, W. M. Keck Foundation Center for Integrative Neuroscience, and Neuroscience Graduate Program, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143-0444, USA.


When planning goal-directed reaches, subjects must estimate the position of the arm by integrating visual and proprioceptive signals from the sensory periphery. These integrated position estimates are required at two stages of motor planning: first to determine the desired movement vector, and second to transform the movement vector into a joint-based motor command. We quantified the contributions of each sensory modality to the position estimate formed at each planning stage. Subjects made reaches in a virtual reality environment in which vision and proprioception were dissociated by shifting the location of visual feedback. The relative weighting of vision and proprioception at each stage was then determined using computational models of feedforward motor control. We found that the position estimate used for movement vector planning relies mostly on visual input, whereas the estimate used to compute the joint-based motor command relies more on proprioceptive signals. This suggests that when estimating the position of the arm, the brain selects different combinations of sensory input based on the computation in which the resulting estimate will be used.

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