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Detecting adaptive inverse models in the central nervous system

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4 Author(s)
Davidson, Paul R. ; Dept. of Electr. & Electron. Eng., Canterbury Univ., Christchurch, New Zealand ; Jones, R.D. ; Andreae, J.H. ; Sirisena, H.R.

This study aimed to find evidence for the formation of an internal inverse model of a novel visuomotor relationship for feedforward control in the brain. An experiment was carried out involving 20 normal adult subjects who performed a pursuit random tracking task with a steering wheel for input. During learning, the response cursor was periodically blanked, removing all feedback about the external system (i.e., about the relationship between hand motion and response cursor motion). Results showed a transfer of learning from the unblanked runs to the blanked runs for a static nonlinear system (linear trend RMS error F(1,19) = 5.05, p = .037) thereby demonstrating adaptive feedforward control in the nervous system. This result provides the strongest evidence to date that the brain adaptively tunes inverse models of external controlled systems during motor learning. No such transfer was observed for a dynamic linear system, indicating a dominant adaptive feedback control component. Results are consistent with inverse modeling and suggest a combination of feedforward and feedback adaptive control in the brain.

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Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, 2001. Proceedings of the 23rd Annual International Conference of the IEEE  (Volume:1 )

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