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Inter-task transfer of prism adaptation depends on exposed task mastery

Abstract : The sensorimotor system sets up plastic alterations to face new demands. Terms such as adaptation and learning are broadly used to describe a variety of processes underlying this aptitude. The mechanisms whereby transformations acquired to face a perturbation generalize to other situations or stay context-dependent remain weakly understood. Here, we compared the performance of hand pointing vs throwing to visual targets while facing an optical shift of the visual field (prismatic deviation). We found that the transfer of compensations was conditioned by the task performed during exposure to the perturbation: compensations transferred from pointing to throwing but not at all from throwing to pointing. Additionally, expertise on the task performed during exposure had a marked influence on the amount of transfer to the non-exposed task: throwing experts (dart players) remarkably transferred compensations to the pointing task. Our results reveal that different processes underlying these distinct transfer properties may be at work to face a given perturbation. Their solicitation depends on mastery for the exposed task, which is responsible for different patterns of inter-task transfer. An important implication is that transfer properties, and not only after-effects, should be included as a criterion for adaptation. At the theoretical level, we suggest that tasks may need to be mastered before they can be subjected to adaptation, which has new implications for the distinction between learning and adaptation.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, April 14, 2020 - 12:26:00 PM
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Lisa Fleury, Damien Pastor, Patrice Revol, Ludovic Delporte, Yves Rossetti. Inter-task transfer of prism adaptation depends on exposed task mastery. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2020, 10 (1), pp.5687. ⟨10.1038/s41598-020-62519-5⟩. ⟨inserm-02541980⟩

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