What are the signals that drive learning? Many experimental and theoretical studies have approached this question from the perspective of motor adaptation as it is both extremely relevant to everyday life and allows for tight experimental control. Motor adaptation is thought to be a gradual process in which errors in behavior are corrected. We challenged this view and developed a behavioral paradigm for studying whether movement is necessary for motor adaptation. We modified a smooth pursuit eye movement adaptation paradigm in which monkeys learn to make an eye movement that predicts an upcoming change in target direction. We found that motor adaptive learning can be elicited in the absence of movement, thus suggesting that motor adaptation has a crucial passive component.
Paper of the month
Joshua's Lab: Passive Motor Learning: Oculomotor Adaptation in the Absence of Behavioral Errors
eNeuro 16 February 2021, 8 (2) ENEURO.0232-20.2020 (2021)