Time course of changes in the long-latency feedback response parallels the fast process of short-term motor adaptation
Journal of Neurophysiology
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© 2020 American Physiological Society. All rights reserved. Time course of changes in the longlatency feedback response parallels the fast process of short-term motor adaptation Adapting to novel dynamics involves modifying both feedforward and feedback control. We investigated whether the motor system alters feedback responses during adaptation to a novel force field in a manner similar to adjustments in feedforward control. We simultaneously tracked the time course of both feedforward and feedback systems via independent probes during a force field adaptation task. Participants (n 35) grasped the handle of a robotic manipulandum and performed reaches to a visual target while the hand and arm were occluded. We introduced an abrupt counterclockwise velocity-dependent force field during a block of reaching trials. We measured movement kinematics and shoulder and elbow muscle activity with surface EMG electrodes. We tracked the feedback stretch response throughout the task. Using force channel trials, we measured overall learning, which was later decomposed into a fast and slow process. We found that the longlatency feedback response (LLFR) was upregulated in the early stages of learning and was correlated with the fast component of feedforward adaptation. The change in feedback response was specific to the long-latency epoch (50-100 ms after muscle stretch) and was observed only in the triceps muscle, which was the muscle required to counter the force field during adaptation. The similarity in time course for the LLFR and the estimated time course of the fast process suggests both are supported by common neural circuits. While some propose that the fast process reflects an explicit strategy, we argue instead that it may be a proxy for the feedback controller. NEW & NOTEWORTHY We investigated whether changes in the feedback stretch response were related to the proposed fast and slow processes of motor adaptation. We found that the long-latency component of the feedback stretch response was upregulated in the early stages of learning and the time course was correlated with the fast process. While some propose that the fast process reflects an explicit strategy, we argue instead that it may be a proxy for the feedback controller.