The goal of this study was to determine whether the sensory nature of a target influences the roles of vision and proprioception in the planning of movement distance. Two groups of subjects made rapid, elbow extension movements, either toward a visual target or toward the index fingertip of the unseen opposite hand. Visual feedback of the reaching index fingertip was only available before movement onset. Using a virtual reality display, we randomly introduced a discrepancy between actual and virtual (cursor) fingertip location. When subjects reached toward the visual target, movement distance varied with changes in visual information about initial hand position. For the proprioceptive target, movement distance varied mostly with changes in proprioceptive information about initial position. The effect of target modality was already present at the time of peak acceleration, indicating that this effect include feedforward processes. Our results suggest that the relative contributions of vision and proprioception to motor planning can change, depending on the modality in which task relevant information is represented.
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