Sub-optimality in motor planning is not improved by explicit observation of motor uncertainty

Keiji Ota, Masahiro Shinya, Laurence T. Maloney, Kazutoshi Kudo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To make optimal decisions under risk, one must correctly weight potential rewards and penalties by the probabilities of receiving them. In motor decision tasks, the uncertainty in outcome is a consequence of motor uncertainty. When participants perform suboptimally as they often do in such tasks, it could be because they have insufficient information about their motor uncertainty: with more information, their performance could converge to optimal as they learn their own motor uncertainty. Alternatively, their suboptimal performance may reflect an inability to make use of the information they have or even to perform the correct computations. To discriminate between these two possibilities, we performed an experiment spanning two days. On the first day, all participants performed a reaching task with trial-by-trial feedback of motor error. At the end of the day, their aim points were still typically suboptimal. On the second day participants were divided into two groups one of which repeated the task of the first day and the other of which repeated the task but were intermittently given additional information summarizing their motor errors. Participants receiving additional information did not perform significantly better than those who did not.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number14850
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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