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Dynamics of dual prism adaptation: relating novel experimental results to a minimalistic neural model.


ABSTRACT: In everyday life, humans interact with a dynamic environment often requiring rapid adaptation of visual perception and motor control. In particular, new visuo-motor mappings must be learned while old skills have to be kept, such that after adaptation, subjects may be able to quickly change between two different modes of generating movements ('dual-adaptation'). A fundamental question is how the adaptation schedule determines the acquisition speed of new skills. Given a fixed number of movements in two different environments, will dual-adaptation be faster if switches ('phase changes') between the environments occur more frequently? We investigated the dynamics of dual-adaptation under different training schedules in a virtual pointing experiment. Surprisingly, we found that acquisition speed of dual visuo-motor mappings in a pointing task is largely independent of the number of phase changes. Next, we studied the neuronal mechanisms underlying this result and other key phenomena of dual-adaptation by relating model simulations to experimental data. We propose a simple and yet biologically plausible neural model consisting of a spatial mapping from an input layer to a pointing angle which is subjected to a global gain modulation. Adaptation is performed by reinforcement learning on the model parameters. Despite its simplicity, the model provides a unifying account for a broad range of experimental data: It quantitatively reproduced the learning rates in dual-adaptation experiments for both direct effect, i.e. adaptation to prisms, and aftereffect, i.e. behavior after removal of prisms, and their independence on the number of phase changes. Several other phenomena, e.g. initial pointing errors that are far smaller than the induced optical shift, were also captured. Moreover, the underlying mechanisms, a local adaptation of a spatial mapping and a global adaptation of a gain factor, explained asymmetric spatial transfer and generalization of prism adaptation, as observed in other experiments.

SUBMITTER: Arevalo O 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3812208 | BioStudies | 2013-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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