The fast contribution of visual-proprioceptive discrepancy to reach aftereffects and proprioceptive recalibration
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Adapting reaches to altered visual feedback not only leads to motor changes, but also to shifts in perceived hand location; “proprioceptive recalibration”. These changes are robust to many task variations and can occur quite rapidly. For instance, our previous study found both motor and sensory shifts arise in as few as 6 rotated-cursor training trials. The aim of this study is to investigate one of the training signals that contribute to these rapid sensory and motor changes. We do this by removing the visuomotor error signals associated with classic visuomotor rotation training; and provide only experience with a visual-proprioceptive discrepancy for training. While a force channel constrains reach direction 30o away from the target, the cursor representing the hand unerringly moves straight to the target. The resulting visual-proprioceptive discrepancy drives significant and rapid changes in no-cursor reaches and felt hand position, again within only 6 training trials. The extent of the sensory change is unexpectedly larger following the visual-proprioceptive discrepancy training. Not surprisingly the size of the reach aftereffects is substantially smaller than following classic visuomotor rotation training. However, the time course by which both changes emerge is similar in the two training types. These results suggest that even the mere exposure to a discrepancy between felt and seen hand location is a sufficient training signal to drive robust motor and sensory plasticity.
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