The temporal stability of visuomotor adaptation generalization

Weiwei Zhou, Justin Fitzgerald, Katrina Colucci-Chang, Karthik G. Murthy, Wilsaan Joiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Movement adaptation in response to systematic motor perturbations exhibits distinct spatial and temporal properties. These characteristics are typically studied in isolation, leaving the interaction largely unknown. Here we examined how the temporal decay of visuomotor adaptation influences the spatial generalization of the motor recalibration. First, we quantified the extent to which adaptation decayed over time. Subjects reached to a peripheral target, and a rotation was applied to the visual feedback of the unseen motion. The retention of this adaptation over different delays (0-120 s) 1) decreased by 29.0 ± 6.8% at the longest delay and 2) was represented by a simple exponential, with a time constant of 22.5 ± 5.6 s. On the basis of this relationship we simulated how the spatial generalization of adaptation would change with delay. To test this directly, we trained additional subjects with the same perturbation and assessed transfer to 19 different locations (spaced 15° apart, symmetric around the trained location) and examined three delays (~4, 12, and 25 s). Consistent with the simulation, we found that generalization around the trained direction (±15°) significantly decreased with delay and distance, while locations >60° displayed near-constant spatiotemporal transfer. Intermediate distances (30° and 45°) showed a difference in transfer across space, but this amount was approximately constant across time. Interestingly, the decay at the trained direction was faster than that based purely on time, suggesting that the spatial transfer of adaptation is modified by concurrent passive (time dependent) and active (movement dependent) processes. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Short-term motor adaptation exhibits distinct spatial and temporal characteristics. Here we investigated the interaction of these features, utilizing a simple motor adaptation paradigm (recalibration of reaching arm movements in response to rotated visual feedback). We examined the changes in the spatial generalization of motor adaptation for different temporal manipulations and report that the spatiotemporal generalization of motor adaptation is generally local and is influenced by both passive (time dependent) and active (movement dependent) learning processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2435-3447
Number of pages1013
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 17 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Decay
  • Generalization
  • Motor adaptation
  • Spatiotemporal generalization
  • Stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology


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