Evidence of multiple coordinate representations during generalization of motor learning

Pritesh N. Parmar, Felix C. Huang, James L. Patton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Several studies have suggested that the motor system takes advantage of a coordinate system when learning a novel sensorimotor environment. Such investigations, however, have not distinguished between initial preferences of a coordinate system versus possible changes due to learning. Here, we present experimental methods that specifically entertain the possibility of multiple coordinate systems during generalization. Subjects trained with their right arm on a viscous force field. We evaluated their performances for both arms in an untrained workspace before and after training using three fields, each representing extrapolation with a candidate coordinate system. Surprisingly, our results showed evidence of improvement (pre to post) in all fields for both limbs. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis of multiple, simultaneous coordinate systems involved in generalization. We also investigated how feedback might affect the results and found in several cases that performance was better for visual displays that were aligned with the limb (in first person) versus non-aligned.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Adaptation
  • Coordinate system
  • Generalization and transfer
  • Internal model
  • Intra- and inter-manual transfer
  • Motor learning
  • Neural representation
  • Visuomotor perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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