Journal of Neurophysiology vol:104 issue:3 pages:1612-24
Few studies have reported direct effects of motor learning on visual perception, especially when using novel movements for the motor system. Atypical motor behaviors that violate movement constraints provide an excellent opportunity to study action-to-perception transfer. In our study, we passively trained blindfolded participants on movements violating the 2/3 power law. Before and after motor training, participants performed a visual discrimination task in which they decided whether two consecutive movements were same or different. For motor training, we randomly assigned the participants to two motor training groups or a control group. The motor training group experienced either a weak or a strong elliptic velocity profile on a circular trajectory that matched one of the visual test stimuli. The control group was presented with linear trajectories unrelated to the viewed movements. After each training session, participants actively reproduced the movement to assess motor learning. The group trained on the strong elliptic velocity profile reproduced movements with increasing elliptic velocity profiles while circular geometry remained constant. Furthermore, both training groups improved in visual discrimination ability for the learned movement as well as for highly similar movements. Participants in the control group, however, did not show any improvements in the visual discrimination task nor did participants who did not acquire the trained movement. The present results provide evidence for a transfer from action to perception which generalizes to highly related movements and depends on the success of motor learning. Moreover, under specific conditions, it seems to be possible to acquire movements deviating from the 2/3 power law.