Motor Force Field Learning Influences Visual Processing of Target Motion Academic Article uri icon


  • There are reciprocal connections between visual and motor areas of the cerebral cortex. Although recent studies have provided intriguing new insights, in comparison with volume of research on the visual control of movement, relatively little is known about how movement influences vision. The motor system is perfectly suited to learn about environmental forces. Does environmental force information, learned by the motor system, influence visual processing? Here, we show that learning to compensate for a force applied to the hand influenced how participants predicted target motion for interception. Ss trained in one of three constant force fields by making reaching movements while holding a robotic manipulandum. The robot applied forces in a null [null force field (NFF)], leftward [leftward force field (LFF)], or [rightward force field (RFF)] direction. Training was followed immediately with an interception task. The target accelerated from left to right and Ss's task was to stab it. When viewing time was optimal for prediction, the RFF group initiated their responses earlier and hit more targets, and the LFF group initiated their responses later and hit fewer targets, than the NFF group. In follow-up experiments, we show that motor learning is necessary, and we rule out the possibility that explicit force direction information drives how Ss altered their predictions of visual motion. Environmental force information, acquired by motor learning, influenced how the motion of nearby visual targets was predicted.

publication date

  • September 12, 2007