Undergraduate Honours Theses
Learning to adapt motor outputs in response to changes in sensory feedback, or sensorimotor adaptation, is crucial to rehabilitation following injury or disease. Adapted movements are often forgotten when the sensory distortion is removed, creating a barrier to long-term rehabilitation. Binary success-error feedback and pictorial reinforcement have been shown to improve retention of adapted motor outputs. In one previous study, positively valenced music improved adaptation rate but had no effects on retention. Pleasurable music has been found to improve performance on spatial intelligence and cognitive tasks, possibly because of its mood- and arousal-enhancing qualities, and has been found to have similar neural properties as reward. In Experiment 1, participants who listened to music that induced a positive or negative mood increased retention of movements adapted to a visual feedback distortion in comparison to silence. In Experiment 2, the combination of reward feedback in adaptation and music that induced a positive mood decreased retention, possibly because the rewarding properties of the music which were present during training (no visuomotor distortion) overrode the rewarding properties of the reinforcement when it were no longer present. These experiments provide evidence for a novel method of improving retention in sensorimotor adaptation.