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Human decision making anticipates future performance in motor learning.

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It is well-established that people can factor into account the distribution of their errors in motor performance so as to optimize reward. Here we asked whether, in the context of motor learning where errors decrease across trials, people take into account their future, improved performance so as to make optimal decisions to maximize reward. One group of participants performed a virtual throwing task in which, periodically, they were given the opportunity to select from a set of smaller targets of increasing value. A second group of participants performed a reaching task under a visuomotor rotation in which, after performing a initial set of trials, they selected a reward structure (ratio of points for target hits and misses) for different exploitation horizons (i.e., numbers of trials they might be asked to perform). Because movement errors decreased exponentially across trials in both learning tasks, optimal target selection (task 1) and optimal reward structure selection (task 2) required taking into account future performance. The results from both tasks indicate that people anticipate their future motor performance so as to make decisions that will improve their expected future reward.



Adolescent, Adult, Decision Making, Female, Humans, Learning, Male, Models, Statistical, Motor Skills, Movement, Psychomotor Performance, Reaction Time, Reproducibility of Results, Reward, Rotation, Stress, Mechanical, Young Adult

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PLoS Comput Biol

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Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Wellcome Trust (097803/Z/11/Z)