Factors governing the assignment of visual consequence to the corresponding action
Journal of Neurophysiology
American Physiological Society
756 - 766
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To achieve fast feedback control of voluntary movements, the visual consequences of our motor commands need to be quickly identified and analyzed by the motor control processes in the brain. These processes work remarkably well even in complex visual environments and in the face of discrepancies between physical actuator and visually perceived effect, e.g. when moving a computer mouse on a visually crowded screen. Here, we use an ambiguous situation in which a single cursor could be controlled by either the left or the right hand to determine the visual and cognitive factors that determine the assignment of a visual stimulus to the corresponding motor command. Our results demonstrate that the visuomotor system is exquisitely sensitive to the spatio-temporal correlation between cursor and hands, learning the appropriate mapping implicitly within several minutes. In contrast, spatial proximity between end effector and visual consequence has an immediate but only transient effect on the assignment process. Finally, an explicit instruction about which hand controls the cursor only has a minor influence when the instruction is presented first. These findings provide insight into the relative importance of the factors that determine the binding of visual information to the corresponding motor structures to enable fast feedback control.