Research Summary

Exploring bi-directional interactions between perception and motor control

Goal directed actions depend crucially on the ability to perceive the world and act upon the perceived information. Perception and action have traditionally been thought to be mediated by distinct neural mechanisms (Goodale & Milner, 1992), and as such, have only been independently investigated. We question this long held view and explore the interplay between perceptual and movement control mechanisms, and identify potential neural substrates that might underlie their interaction. We examine these bidirectional interactions particularly in the context of learning, in a series of seven experiments. We first investigate whether visuomotor or force-field adaptation influence visual processing of moving stimuli when such adaptation is driven by errors or reward. Next, we examine how visuomotor adaptation influences perceptual decision-making, and whether the robustness of these decisions is modulated by changes in reinforcement during adaptation. Third, we investigate modulation of motor learning by prior perceptual training, induced via a novel perceptual learning paradigm. Finally, we explore the role of primary somatosensory and motor cortices in these interactions by perturbing their activity using transcranial magnetic stimulation and examining its behavioral consequences. These studies have substantial implications for neural organization of perceptual and motor systems and may also contribute from a translational perspective.

Figure Legend: Functional connectivity between motor and sensory areas of the brain. Blue colour represents the motor areas and flow of motor information. Red colour represents sensory areas and flow of perceptual information.