It's All Me; Varying Viewpoints & Motor Learning in a Virtual Reality Environment
Judith Schomaker, Joachim Tesch, Heinrich Buelthoff, Jean-Pierre Bresciani
Last modified: 2010-04-26
In the present study, healthy subjects performed a visuo-vestibular motor adaptation task in virtual reality. The task consisted of keeping the extended arm and hand stable in space during a whole-body rotation induced by a robotic wheelchair. Performance was first quantified in a pretest in which no visual feedback was available during the rotation. During the subsequent learning phase optical flow resulting from body rotation was provided. This visual feedback was manipulated to create the illusion of a smaller rotational movement than actually occurred, hereby altering the visuo-vestibular mapping. The adaptation effects of the learning phase were measured during a posttest identical to the pretest. Three different groups of subjects were exposed to different perspectives on the visual scene, i.e., first-person-, top- or mirror-view. Interestingly, sensorimotor adaptation occurred for all three viewpoint conditions (p < 0.05). Furthermore, in the mirror-view participants showed significantly less variability in performance. These results suggest that the visually richer mirror-view enhanced motor learning relative to the other viewpoints. Therefore, using virtual reality to provide rich multimodal stimulation including mirror views could add to traditional neurorehabilitation techniques by facilitating motor learning.