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Prism adaptation speeds reach initiation in the direction of the prism after-effect

Faculty Advisor




prism adaptation, temporal-parietal cortex

Abstract (summary)

Damage to the temporal-parietal cortex in the right hemisphere often leads to spatial neglect – a disorder in which patients are unable to attend to sensory input from their contralesional (left) side. Neglect has been associated with both attentional and premotor deficits. That is, in addition to having difficulty with attending to the left side, patients are often slower to initiate leftward vs. rightward movements (i.e., directional hypokinesia). Previous research has indicated that a brief period of adaptation to rightward shifting prisms can reduce symptoms of neglect by adjusting the patient’s movements leftward, towards the neglected field. Although prism adaptation has been shown to reduce spatial attention deficits in patients with neglect, very little work has examined the effects of prisms on premotor symptoms. In the current study, we examined this in healthy individuals using leftward shifting prisms to induce a rightward shift in the egocentric reference frame, similar to neglect patients prior to prism adaptation. Specifically, we examined the speed with which healthy participants initiated leftward and rightward reaches (without visual feedback) prior to and following adaptation to either 17° leftward (n=16) or 17° rightward (n=15) shifting prisms. Our results indicated that, following adaptation, participants were significantly faster to initiate reaches towards targets located in the direction opposite the prism shift. That is, participants were faster to initiate reaches to right targets following leftward prism adaptation, and were faster to initiate reaches to left targets following rightward prism adaptation. Overall these results are consistent with the idea that prism adaptation can influence the speed with which a reach can be planned toward a target in the direction opposite the prism shift, possibly through altering activity in neural circuits involved in reach planning.

Publication Information

Striemer, C. L., Borza, C. A. Prism adaptation speeds reach initiation in the direction of the prism after-effect. Experimental Brain Research 235, 3193–3206 (2017).


Item Type

Article Post-Print



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