Neural substrates of anticipatory motor adaptation for object lifting

Michelle Marneweck, Scott T. Grafton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Anticipatory force control is a fundamental means by which humans stave off slipping, spilling, and tilting disasters while manipulating objects. This control must often be adapted due to changes in an object’s dynamics (e.g. a lighter than expected mug of coffee) or its relation with involved effectors or digits (e.g. lift a mug with three vs. five digits). The neural processes guiding such anticipatory and adaptive control is understudied but presumably operates along multiple time scales, analogous to what has been identified with adaptation in other motor tasks, such as perturbations during reaching. Learning of anticipatory forces must be ultrafast to minimize tilting a visually symmetric object towards its concealed asymmetric center of mass (CoM), but slower when the CoM is explicitly and systematically switched from side to side. Studying the neural substrates of this latter slower learning process with rapid multiband brain imaging, in-scanner kinematics and Bayesian pattern component modelling, we show that CoM-specific pattern distances increase with repeated CoM switching exposures and improved learning. The cerebellum showed the most prominent effects, fitting with the idea that it forms a stored internal model that is used to build and update anticipatory control. CoM-specific pattern distances were present 24 h later, in line with the presence of consolidation effects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10430
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2020


  • motor control
  • neurophysiology

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