The origins of anterograde interference in visuomotor adaptation

Gonzalo Lerner, Scott Albert, Pedro A. Caffaro, Jorge I. Villalta, Florencia Jacobacci, Reza Shadmehr, Valeria Della-Maggiore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Anterograde interference refers to the negative impact of prior learning on the propensity for future learning. There is currently no consensus on whether this phenomenon is transient or long lasting, with studies pointing to an effect in the time scale of hours to days. These inconsistencies might be caused by the method employed to quantify performance, which often confounds changes in learning rate and retention. Here, we aimed to unveil the time course of anterograde interference by tracking its impact on visuomotor adaptation at different intervals throughout a 24-h period. Our empirical and model-based approaches allowed us to measure the capacity for new learning separately from the influence of a previous memory. In agreement with previous reports, we found that prior learning persistently impaired the initial level of performance upon revisiting the task. However, despite this strong initial bias, learning capacity was impaired only when conflicting information was learned up to 1 h apart, recovering thereafter with passage of time. These findings suggest that when adapting to conflicting perturbations, impairments in performance are driven by two distinct mechanisms: a long-lasting bias that acts as a prior and hinders initial performance and a short-lasting anterograde interference that originates from a reduction in error sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4000-4010
Number of pages11
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2021


  • Anterograde interference
  • Error sensitivity
  • Motor learning
  • State-space model
  • Visuomotor adaptation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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