Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 237, Issue 6, pp 1431–1444 | Cite as

Going offline: differences in the contributions of movement control processes when reaching in a typical versus novel environment

  • Darrin O. Wijeyaratnam
  • Romeo Chua
  • Erin K. CressmanEmail author
Research Article


Human movements are remarkably adaptive. We are capable of completing movements in a novel visuomotor environment with similar accuracy to those performed in a typical environment. In the current study, we examined if the control processes underlying movements under typical conditions were different from those underlying novel visuomotor conditions. 16 participants were divided into two groups, one receiving continuous visual feedback during all reaches (CF), and the other receiving terminal feedback regarding movement endpoint (TF). Participants trained in a virtual environment by completing 150 reaches to three targets when (1) a cursor accurately represented their hand motion (i.e., typical environment) and (2) a cursor was rotated 45° clockwise relative to their hand motion (i.e., novel environment). Analyses of within-trial measures across 150 reaching trials revealed that participants were able to demonstrate similar movement outcomes (i.e., movement time and angular errors) regardless of visual feedback or reaching environment by the end of reach training. Furthermore, a reduction in variability across several measures (i.e., reaction time, movement time, time after peak velocity, and jerk score) over time showed that participants improved the consistency of their movements in both reaching environments. However, participants took more time and were less consistent in the timing of initiating their movements when reaching in a novel environment compared to reaching in a typical environment, even at the end of training. As well, angular error variability at different proportions of the movement trajectory was consistently greater when reaching in a novel environment across trials and within a trial. Together, the results suggest a greater contribution of offline control processes and less effective online corrective processes when reaching in a novel environment compared to when reaching in a typical environment.


Reaching Visuomotor adaptation Visual feedback Kinematic analysis Movement control 



This research was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada awarded to Erin K. Cressman.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

221_2019_5515_MOESM1_ESM.docx (62 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 61 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Human KineticsUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.School of KinesiologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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