Evidence for predictive control in lifting series of virtual objects

Firas Mawase, Amir Karniel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The human motor control system gracefully behaves in a dynamic and time varying environment. Here, we explored the predictive capabilities of the motor system in a simple motor task of lifting a series of virtual objects. When a subject lifts an object, she/he uses an expectation of the weight of the object to generate a motor command. All models of motor learning employ learning algorithms that essentially expect the future to be similar to the previously experienced environment. In this study, we asked subjects to lift a series of increasing weights and determined whether they extrapolated from past experience and predicted the next weight in the series even though that weight had never been experienced. The grip force at the beginning of the lifting task is a clean indication of the motor expectation. In contrast to the motor learning literature asserting adaptation by means of expecting a weighted average based on past experience, our results suggest that the motor system is able to predict the subsequent weight that follows a series of increasing weights.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-452
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2010


  • Grip force
  • Internal models
  • Motor control
  • Motor memory
  • Predictive control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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