Zoubin Ghahramani, Daniel M. Wolpert, Michael Jordan
One of the fundamental properties that both neural networks and the central nervous system share is the ability to learn and gener(cid:173) alize from examples. While this property has been studied exten(cid:173) sively in the neural network literature it has not been thoroughly explored in human perceptual and motor learning. We have chosen a coordinate transformation system-the visuomotor map which transforms visual coordinates into motor coordinates-to study the generalization effects of learning new input-output pairs. Using a paradigm of computer controlled altered visual feedback, we have studied the generalization of the visuomotor map subsequent to both local and context-dependent remappings. A local remapping of one or two input-output pairs induced a significant global, yet decaying, change in the visuomotor map, suggesting a representa(cid:173) tion for the map composed of units with large functional receptive fields. Our study of context-dependent remappings indicated that a single point in visual space can be mapped to two different fin(cid:173) ger locations depending on a context variable-the starting point of the movement. Furthermore, as the context is varied there is a gradual shift between the two remappings, consistent with two visuomotor modules being learned and gated smoothly with the context.