Acquisition, representation, and transfer of models of visuo-motor error

Hang Zhang, Mila Kirstie C Kulsa, Laurence T. Maloney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined how human subjects acquire and represent models of visuo-motor error and how they transfer information about visuo-motor error from one task to a closely related one. The experiment consisted of three phases. In the training phase, subjects threw beanbags underhand towards targets displayed on a wall-mounted touch screen. The distribution of their endpoints was a vertically elongated bivariate Gaussian. In the subsequent choice phase, subjects repeatedly chose which of two targets varying in shape and size they would prefer to attempt to hit. Their choices allowed us to investigate their internal models of visuo-motor error distribution, including the coordinate system in which they represented visuo-motor error. In the transfer phase, subjects repeated the choice phase from a different vantage point, the same distance from the screen but with the throwing direction shifted 45°. From the new vantage point, visuo-motor error was effectively expanded horizontally by √2. We found that subjects incorrectly assumed an isotropic distribution in the choice phase but that the anisotropy they assumed in the transfer phase agreed with an objectively correct transfer. We also found that the coordinate system used in coding two-dimensional visuo-motor error in the choice phase was effectively one-dimensional.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6
JournalJournal of vision
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2015


  • Choice
  • Movement planning
  • Perception and action
  • Representation
  • Transfer
  • Visuo-motor uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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