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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Cortex, Volume 49, Issue 8, September 2013, Pages 2249–2259
The prediction of our actions and their interaction with the external environment is critical for sensorimotor adaptation. For instance, during prism exposure, which deviates laterally our visual field, we progressively correct movement errors by combining sensory feedback with forward model sensory predictions. However, very often we project our actions to the external environment without physically interacting with it (e.g., mental actions). An intriguing question is whether adaptation will occur if we imagine, instead of executing, an arm movement while wearing prisms. Here, we investigated prism adaptation during mental actions. In the first experiment, participants (n = 54) performed arm pointing movements before and after exposure to the optical device. They were equally divided into six groups according to prism exposure: Prisms-Active, Prisms-Imagery, Prisms-Stationary, Prisms-Stationary-Attention, No Conflict-Prisms-Imagery, No Prisms-Imagery. Adaptation, measured by the difference in pointing errors between pre-test and post-test, occurred only in Prisms-Active and Prisms-Imagery conditions. The second experiment confirmed the results of the first experiment and further showed that sensorimotor adaptation was mainly due to proprioceptive realignment in both Prisms-Active (n = 10) and Prisms-Imagery (n = 10) groups. In both experiments adaptation was greater following actual than imagined pointing movements. The present results are the first demonstration of prism adaptation by mental practice under prism exposure and they are discussed in terms of internal forward models and sensorimotor plasticity.