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Eggert, Thomas; Kaltenbach, Katharina; Straube, Andreas (2022): Error inconsistency does not generally inhibit saccadic adaptation: Support for linear models of multi‐gainfield adaptation. Physiological Reports, 10 (4). ISSN 2051-817X

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This study examined saccade adaptation induced by intrasaccadic target steps (ITS). By manipulating the ITS, we investigated potential effects of the consistency of the feedback error on saccade adaptation, which would provide evidence against the linearity of standard models of visuomotor adaptation. Previous studies addressing saccade adaptation arrived at different interpretations, but in these experiments only a single saccade amplitude was trained rather than a variety of saccade amplitudes in random order (mixed training). We extend previous studies by testing for effects of error consistency under additional control conditions described by the factors training protocol (single-amplitude/mixed), ITS direction (onward/backward), and adaptation phase (training/washout). Adaptation dynamics were assessed using a model of “multi-gainfield adaptation” developed by tailoring an existing linear model for visuomotor adaptation of movements with multiple target positions to gain adaptation of saccades with multiple amplitudes. The total adaptive change did not depend on the consistency of the ITS in either mixed or single-amplitude training. The initial adaptation speed was lower with inconsistent ITS. However, the effect on adaptation speed occurred only during amplitude reduction and not during enlargement or washout. These results corroborate the linearity of saccade adaptation in that the mean error is the main factor determining the total adaptive change, independent of error consistency. The multi-gainfield adaptation model was confirmed in that the retention rate and error sensitivity did not depend on the training protocol. The absence of effects of error consistency on saccade adaptation is relevant in the context of adaptive deficits in movement disorders.

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