Fast and specific: Insights into the acquisition and generalization of motor acuity

Shahar Gonda, Anat Shkedy Rabani, Naama Horesh, Lior Shmuelof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Motor acuity is considered to be the outcome of prolonged practice and to involve morphological changes in the motor cortex. We have previously designed a curved pointing task, the arc pointing task (APT), to study motor acuity acquisition, defined as a change in the speed-accuracy tradeoff function (SAF) of the task. Here, we studied the generalization of motor acuity between hands and between tasks (drawing the arc in the opposite direction and with the untrained hand) and the effect of training duration on motor acuity. We report that training-induced motor acuity improvement did not generalize across hands and across tasks performed with the same hand, suggesting a task-specific representation of motor acuity. To our surprise, the largest gains in motor acuity, measured both by changes in SAF and by improvement in multiple kinematic variables, were seen following a short exposure to the task. Our results suggest that motor acuity training-induced improvement is task specific and that motor acuity starts to improve following a very short practice. NEW & NOTEWORTHY We report that training induced motor acuity improvement does not generalize from one hand to another or between movements that are performed with the same effector. Furthermore, significant improvements in acuity were found following a very short exposure to the task (∼20 trials). Therefore, our results suggest that the nervous system has the capacity to rapidly improve motor acuity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2354-2363
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Motor control
  • Motor learning
  • Motor skill
  • Reaching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Physiology


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