Does Perceptual-Motor Calibration Generalize across Two Different Forms of Locomotion? Investigations of Walking and Wheelchairs

Kunz, Benjamin R.; Creem-Regehr, Sarah H.; Thompson, William B.
February 2013
PLoS ONE;Feb2013, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
The relationship between biomechanical action and perception of self-motion during walking is typically consistent and well-learned but also adaptable. This perceptual-motor coupling can be recalibrated by creating a mismatch between the visual information for self-motion and walking speed. Perceptual-motor recalibration of locomotion has been demonstrated through effects on subsequent walking without vision, showing that learned perceptual-motor coupling influences a dynamic representation of one's spatial position during walking. Our present studies test whether recalibration of wheelchair locomotion, a novel form of locomotion for typically walking individuals, similarly influences subsequent wheelchair locomotion. Furthermore, we test whether adaptation to the pairing of visual information for self-motion during one form of locomotion transfers to a different locomotion modality. We find strong effects of perceptual-motor recalibration for matched locomotion modalities – walking/walking and wheeling/wheeling. Transfer across incongruent locomotion modalities showed weak recalibration effects. The results have implications both for theories of perceptual-motor calibration mechanisms and their effects on spatial orientation, as well as for practical applications in training and rehabilitation.


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