Does the Sensorimotor System Minimize Prediction Error or Select the Most Likely Prediction During Object Lifting?
Journal of Neurophysiology
American Physiological Society
Copyright © 2017 the American Physiological Society
Reason for embargo
The human sensorimotor system is routinely capable of making accurate predictions about an object's weight, which allows for energetically efficient lifts and prevents objects from being dropped. Often however, poor predictions arise when the weight of an object can vary and sensory cues about object weight are sparse (e.g., picking up an opaque water bottle). The question arises, what strategies does the sensorimotor system use to make weight predictions when dealing with an object whose weight may vary? For example, does the sensorimotor system use a strategy that minimizes prediction error (minimal squared error) or one that selects the weight that is most likely to be correct (maximum a posteriori)? Here we dissociated the predictions of these two strategies by having participants lift an object whose weight varied according to a skewed probability distribution. We found, using a small range of weight uncertainty, that four indexes of sensorimotor prediction (grip force rate, grip force, load force rate, and load force) were consistent with a feedforward strategy that minimizes the square of prediction errors. These findings match research in the visuomotor system, suggesting parallels in underlying processes. We interpret our findings within a Bayesian framework and discuss the potential benefits of using a minimal squared error strategy.
This work was supported by Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from American Physiological Society via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 117, no. 1, pp. 260-274
Place of publication