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TitleChanges in performance monitoring during sensorimotor adaptation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsAnguera, J. A., Seidler R. D., & Gehring W. J.
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Pagination1868 - 1879
Date Published2009/09//
ISBN Number0022-3077
KeywordsAdaptation, Physiological, Adolescent, Adult, Analysis of Variance, Association Learning, Brain Mapping, Cerebral Cortex, Contingent Negative Variation, Electroencephalography, Feedback, Psychological, Female, Humans, Male, Motor Skills, Neuropsychological Tests, Orientation, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Photic Stimulation, Reaction Time, Time Factors, Young Adult

Error detection and correction are essential components of motor skill learning. These processes have been well characterized in cognitive psychology using electroencephalography (EEG) to record an event-related potential (ERP) called error-related negativity (ERN). However, it is unclear whether this ERP component is sensitive to the magnitude of the error made in a sensorimotor adaptation task. In the present study, we tested the function of error-related activity in a visuomotor adaptation task. To examine whether error size is reflected in the ERP, two groups of participants adapted manual aiming movements to either a small (30 degrees) or large (45 degrees) rotation of the visual feedback display. Each participant's trials were sorted into large and small error trials using a median split to examine potential error magnitude waveform differences. We also examined these trial types at the early and late stages of adaptation. There were no group differences for the behavioral or neural measures; however, waveforms from large error trials were significantly different from small error trials. The waveforms also changed as a function of practice as early adaptation waveforms were larger than late adaptation waveforms. The observed ERP component reflected differences in error magnitude with the amount of activity corresponding to the size of the error. Movement monitoring potentials likely affected the frequency and time course of the waveform so that it did not resemble the typical ERN; however, error-related activity was still distinguishable. The present findings are discussed in terms of current theories of the ERN as well as skill acquisition.


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