Generalization of force-field adaptation in proprioceptively-deafferented subjects

  • Lefumat Hannah Z.
  • Miall R. Chris
  • Cole Jonathan D.
  • Bringoux Lionel
  • Bourdin Christophe
  • Vercher Jean-Louis
  • Sarlegna Fabrice R.

  • Vision
  • Proprioception
  • Coriolis force adaptation
  • Deafferentation
  • Intermanual transfer
  • Human motor learning


Humans have the remarkable ability to adapt their motor behaviour to changes in body properties and/or environmental conditions, based on sensory feedback such as vision and proprioception. The role of proprioception has been highlighted for the adaptation to new upper-limb dynamics, which is known to generalize to the opposite, non-adapted limb in healthy individuals. Such interlimb transfer seems to depend on sensory feedback, and the present study assessed whether the chronic loss of proprioception precludes interlimb transfer of dynamic adaptation by testing two well-characterized proprioceptively-deafferented subjects. These had to reach toward visual targets with vision of the limb. For both deafferented subjects, we observed adaptation of the dominant arm to Coriolis forces and aftereffects on non-dominant arm movements in different movement directions, thus indicating interlimb transfer. Overall, our findings show that motor learning can generalize across limbs and movement directions despite the loss of proprioceptive afferents. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.