Forces That Supplement Visuomotor Learning: A 'Sensory Crossover' Experiment
journal contributionposted on 09.09.2021, 15:51 by MF Bittmann, James PattonJames Patton
Previous studies on reaching movements have shown that people can adapt to either visuomotor (e.g., prism glasses) or mechanical distortions (e.g., force fields) through repetitive practice. Recent work has shown that adaptation to one type of distortion might have implications on learning the other type, suggesting that neural resources are common to both kinematic and kinetic adaptation. This study investigated whether training with a novel force field might benefit the learning of a visual distortion-specifically, when forces were designed to produce aftereffects that aligned with the ideal trajectory for a visual rotation. Participants training with these forces (Force Group) were tested on a visual rotation. After training with this novel field, we found that participants had surprisingly good performance in the visual rotation condition, comparable to a group that trained on the visual rotation directly. A third group tested the rate of learning with intermittent catch trials, where we zeroed the forces and switched to the visual rotation, and found a significantly faster learning rate than the group that trained directly on the visual rotation. Interestingly, these abilities continued to significantly improve one day later, whereas the direct training showed no such effect. All participants were able to generalize what they learned to unpracticed movement directions. We speculate that when forces are used in training, haptic feedback can have a substantial influence on learning a task that heavily relies on visual feedback. Such methods can impact any situation where one might add robotic forces to the training process.
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