Sensorimotor memory for object weight is based on previous experience during lifting, not holding

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Vonne van Polanen, Marco Davare

Abstract

To allow skilled object manipulation, the brain must generate a motor command specifically tailored to the object properties. For instance, in object lifting, the forces applied by the fingertips must be scaled to the object's weight. When lifting a series of objects, forces are usually scaled according to recent experience from previously lifted objects, an effect often referred to as sensorimotor memory. In this study, we investigated the specific time period during which stored information from previous object manipulation is used to mediate sensorimotor memory. More specifically, we examined whether sensorimotor memory was based on weight information obtained between object contact and lift completion (lifting phase) or during stable holding (holding phase). Participants lifted objects in virtual reality that could increase or decrease in weight after the object was lifted and held in the air. In this way, we could distinguish whether the force planning in the next lift was scaled depending on weight information gathered from either the dynamic lifting or static holding period. We found that force planning was based on the previous object weight experienced during the lifting, but not holding, phase. This suggest that the l...Continue Reading

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