Implicit visuomotor adaptation remains limited after several days of training

Publication Year


Journal Article

Learning in sensorimotor adaptation tasks has been viewed as an implicit learning phenomenon. The implicit process affords recalibration of existing motor skills so that the system can adjust to changes in the body or environment without relearning from scratch. However, recent findings suggest that the implicit process is heavily constrained, calling into question its utility in motor learning and the theoretical framework of sensori- motor adaptation paradigms. These inferences have been based mainly on results from single bouts of train- ing, where explicit compensation strategies, such as explicitly re-aiming the intended movement direction, contribute a significant proportion of adaptive learning. It is possible, however, that the implicit process super- sedes explicit compensation strategies over repeated practice sessions. We tested this by dissociating the contributions of explicit re-aiming strategies and the implicit process in human participants over five consecu- tive days of training. Despite a substantially longer duration of training, the implicit process still plateaued at a value far short of complete learning and, as has been observed in previous studies, was inappropriate for a mirror-reversal task. Notably, we find significant between subject differences that call into question traditional interpretation of these group-level results.