Humans can operate a variety of modern tools, which are often associated with different visuomotor transformations. Studies investigating this ability have shown that separate motor memories can be acquired implicitly when different sensorimotor transformations are associated with distinct (intended) postures or explicitly when abstract contextual cues are leveraged by aiming strategies. It still remains unclear how different transformations are remembered implicitly when postures are similar. We investigated whether features of planning to manipulate a visual tool, such as its visual identity or the environmental effect intended by its use (i.e. action effect) would enable implicit learning of opposing visuomotor rotations. Results show that neither contextual cue led to distinct implicit motor memories, but that cues only affected implicit adaptation indirectly through generalization around explicit strategies. In contrast, a control experiment where participants practiced opposing transformations with different hands did result in contextualized aftereffects differing between hands across generalization targets. It appears that different (intended) body states are necessary for separate aftereffects to emerge, suggesting that the role of sensory prediction error-based adaptation may be limited to the recalibration of a body model, whereas establishing separate tool models may proceed along a different route.
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