Sensory prediction errors, not performance errors, update memories in visuomotor adaptation

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Sensory prediction errors are thought to update memories in motor adaptation, but the role of performance errors is largely unknown. To dissociate these errors, we manipulated visual feedback during fast shooting movements under visuomotor rotation. Participants were instructed to strategically correct for performance errors by shooting to a neighboring target in one of four conditions: following the movement onset, the main target, the neighboring target, both targets, or none of the targets disappeared. Participants in all conditions experienced a drift away from the main target following the strategy. In conditions where the main target was shown, participants often tried to minimize performance errors caused by the drift by generating corrective movements. However, despite differences in performance during adaptation between conditions, memory decay in a delayed washout block was indistinguishable between conditions. Our results thus suggest that, in visuomotor adaptation, sensory predictions errors, but not performance errors, update the slow, temporally stable, component of motor memory.


  • Scientific Reports

    Scientific Reports (8), 16483, 2018-11



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