Limited transfer of learning between unimanual and bimanual skills within the same limb


Although a limb's motion appears to be similar across unimanual and bimanual movements, here we demonstrate partial, but not complete, transfer of learning across these behavioral contexts, hidden learning that remains intact (but invisible) until the original context is again encountered, and the ability to associate two conflicting force fields simultaneously, one with each context. These results suggest partial, but not complete, overlap in the learning processes involved in the acquisition of unimanual and bimanual skills.

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Figure 1: Partial transfer of learning across unimanual and bimanual movements.
Figure 2: Effect of washout trials predicted from the partially overlapping neural control processes for unimanual and bimanual movements.
Figure 3: Adaptation to conflicting force fields.


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We thank J.R. Flanagan, J.A. Pruszynski, T. Herter and T. Lillicrap for helpful comments, K. Moore for expert technical help, and N. Nozaki for preparation of the figures. This work was supported by a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) bilateral program and a JSPS Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C, #18500456) to D.N., and a grant from the National Science and Engineering Research Council to S.H.S.

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This study was designed by all three authors. Data collection and data analysis were performed predominantly by D.N. All three authors contributed to the writing of the paper.

Correspondence to Daichi Nozaki or Stephen H Scott.

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Competing interests

S.H.S. is the co-founder of BKIN Technologies, which commercializes the robotic technology used in this study.

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Nozaki, D., Kurtzer, I. & Scott, S. Limited transfer of learning between unimanual and bimanual skills within the same limb. Nat Neurosci 9, 1364–1366 (2006).

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