Skip to Content

Department of Cognitive Science

Seminar Abstract

Reward and error in sensorimotor adaptation.

Speaker : Associate Professor Timothy Carroll, Centre for Sensorimotor Performance, School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, The University of Queensland.
Date : 30th of November 2017, 11:00AM until 12:00PM
Location : Australian Hearing Hub, 3.610, Macquarie University.

    Successful interaction with the world requires good decisions, not only of WHAT to do, but also of HOW we should realise our goals through movement. Recent application of value-based decision making models to sensorimotor control suggests that the brain might balance the prospect of reward against the energetic cost of movement in “deciding” HOW to act. However, we have little knowledge to date about which aspects of the sensorimotor control network contribute to such decisions. In the first part of the talk, I will present evidence that fast and automatic corrective responses are tuned to the relative value of potential targets. Thus, outputs from even the lowest levels of the visuomotor control hierarchy reflect variables associated with value-based decision making. It is also unclear how rewards and costs influence adaptation of sensorimotor control when the state of the body or the world changes. Classical theories emphasise correction of sensory prediction errors as the main driver of sensorimotor adaptation, but recent work illustrates that reward-based reinforcement and energy cost reduction also contribute. There is currently no cohesive framework to explain which components of the neural system for movement control are updated upon exposure to sensorimotor perturbation, nor what internal signals drive updating. In the second part of the talk, I will describe responses to altered sensorimotor states under experimental conditions that isolate (or emphasise) specific error and reward signals. The data suggest that sensory prediction errors and the intrinsic reward of successfully completing a motor task have distinct effects on different underlying components of sensorimotor adaptation.

    Further Information


    Who is Visiting

    • Associate Professor Sarah Fernandez Guinea
    • Dr Jun Lai
    • Dr Olena Nikolenko
    • Dr Lianzhong Zheng
    • Dr Emmanual Chemla
    • Dr Erik Chang
    • Professor Kate Nation
    • Dr Joel Krueger
    • Dr Susanne Ravn
    • Associate Professor Sara Hart
    • Dr Dona Jayakody
    • Professor Sylvain Baillet
    • Dr Etienne Roesch
    • Professor James Douglas Saddy
    • Dr Eva Feredoes
    • [Previous Visitors]

    Contact Details

    Telephone: (02) 9850 9599
    Fax : (02) 9850 6059
    Email :
    Web :