The acquisition of nonlinear visuomotor transformations.

Willem B. Verwey, Herbert Heuer

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Participants in two experiments moved a mouse-like device to the right to move a cursor on a computer screen to a target position. The cursor was invisible during motion but reappeared at the end of each movement. The relationship between the amplitudes of the cursor movement and the mouse movement was exponential in Experiment 1 and logarithmic in Experiment 2 for two groups of participants, while it was linear for the control groups in both experiments. The results of both experiments indicate that participants adjusted well to the external transformation by developing an internal model that approximated the inverse of the external transformation. We introduce a method to determine the locus of the internal model. It indicates that the internal model works at a processing level that either preceded specification of movement amplitude, or had become part of movement amplitude specification. Limited awareness of the nonlinear mouse–cursor relationship and the fact that a working-memory task had little effect on performance suggest that the internal model is modular and not dependent on high-level cognitive processes
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)1629-1659
Number of pages31
JournalThe quarterly journal of experimental psychology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • METIS-242689
  • IR-59072

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