Exploring the role of task success in implicit motor adaptation
Although implicit motor adaptation is driven by sensory-prediction errors (SPEs), recent work has shown that task success modulates this process. Task success has typically been defined as hitting a target, which signifies the goal of the movement. Visuomotor adaptation tasks are uniquely situated to experimentally manipulate task success independently from SPE by changing the target size or the location of the target. These two, distinct manipulations may influence implicit motor adaptation in different ways, so, over four experiments, we sought to probe the efficacy of each manipulation. We found that changes in target size, which caused the target to fully envelop the cursor, only affected implicit adaptation for a narrow range of SPE sizes, while jumping the target to overlap with the cursor more reliably and robustly affected implicit adaptation. Taken together, our data indicate that, while task success exerts a small effect on implicit adaptation, these effects are susceptible to methodological variations. Future investigations of the effect of task success on implicit adaptation could benefit from employing target jump manipulations instead of target size manipulations.