Sensorimotor adaptation changes the neural coding of somatosensory stimuli

Sazzad M. Nasir, Mohammad Darainy, David J. Ostry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Motor learning is reflected in changes to the brain's functional organization as a result of experience. We show here that these changes are not limited to motor areas of the brain and indeed that motor learning also changes sensory systems. We test for plasticity in sensory systems using somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs). A robotic device is used to elicit somatosensory inputs by displacing the arm in the direction of applied force during learning. We observe that following learning there are short latency changes to the response in somatosensory areas of the brain that are reliably correlated with the magnitude of motor learning: subjects who learn more show greater changes in SEP magnitude. The effects we observe are tied to motor learning. When the limb is displaced passively, such that subjects experience similar movements but without experiencing learning, no changes in the evoked response are observed. Sensorimotor adaptation thus alters the neural coding of somatosensory stimuli.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2077-2085
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2013


  • Motor learning
  • Reaching movement
  • Somatosensory evoked potential

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology


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