Sensory-motor learning is commonly considered as a mapping process, whereby sensory information is transformed into the motor commands that drive actions. However, this directional mapping, from inputs to outputs, is part of a loop; sensory stimuli cause actions and vice versa. Here, we explore whether actions affect the understanding of the sensory input that they cause. Using a visuo-motor task in humans, we demonstrate two types of learning-related behavioral effects. Stimulus-dependent effects reflect stimulus-response learning, while action-dependent effects reflect a distinct learning component, allowing the brain to predict the forthcoming sensory outcome of actions. Together, the stimulus-dependent and the action-dependent learning components allow the brain to construct a complete internal representation of the sensory-motor loop.
Just do it: action-dependent learning allows sensory prediction
Authors: Novick I, Vaadia E.
Year of publication: 2011
Journal: PLoS One. 2011;6(10):e26020.
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