The gravitational imprint on sensorimotor planning and control

  • White Olivier
  • Gaveau Jeremie
  • Bringoux Lionel
  • Crevecoeur Frédéric

  • Graviception
  • Motor control
  • Perception


Humans excel at learning complex tasks and elite performers such as musicians or sportsmen develop motor skills that defy biomechanical constraints. All actions require the movement of massive bodies. Of particular interest in the process of sensorimotor learning and control is the impact of gravitational forces on the body. Indeed, efficient control and accurate internal representations of the body configuration in space depend on our ability to feel and anticipate the action of gravity. Here we review studies on perception and sensorimotor control in both normal and altered gravity. Behavioral and modeling studies together suggested that the nervous system develops efficient strategies to take advantage of gravitational forces across a wide variety of tasks. However, when exposed to altered gravity, the rate of strategy updating exhibited substantial variations from one experiment to another and sometimes led to partial adjustment only. Overall, these results support the hypothesis that the brain uses a multimodal and flexible representation of gravity effects on our body and movements. Future work is necessary to better characterize the nature of this internal representation and the extent to which it can adapt to novel contexts. :