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Sensorimotor adaptation in VR: magnitude and persistence of the aftereffect increase with the number of interactions

Wähnert, Svetlana; Gerhards, Alexander

FG Psychologie Neuer Medien und Methodenlehre

In both prism and virtual reality experiments, it has been observed that visual displacement leads to an adaptation of the sensorimotor system. A characteristic of adaptation is the occurrence of the aftereffect, which is the spatial deviation of the movements in the direction opposite to the visual displacement. Prism adaptation experiments have shown that a higher number of interactions lead to an increased magnitude and persistence of the aftereffect. The aim of the present study was to investigate this relationship in virtual reality. After baseline measurement, the virtual environment was displaced visually. During this adaptation phase, the participants performed either zero, five, or thirty-five pointing movements. Afterwards, all participants performed the pointing movements without the visual displacement in the virtual environment. Performing five pointing movements during the adaptation phase was already sufficient to produce an aftereffect. With thirty-five pointing movements, both magnitude and persistence of the aftereffect increased. These results replicate studies of prism adaptation. Considering this, we briefly discuss the suitability of virtual reality as a research tool to study prism adaptation.