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Jeroen Smeets

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Variability, learning and adaptation

No two human movements are the same. For a scientist, there are various ways to deal with this phenomenon. A first approach is to regard the variability as departures from the average ideal movement due to neural noise. According to this view, a good movement strategy reduces the sensitivity for neural noise. A second approach is to regard variability as a sign of dexterity. According to this view, a good movement strategy exploits the variability, which can be used for flexible adjustments or adaptation. This last approach seems appropriate if we want to indicate what the qualities of a top soccer player are, whereas the first seems more appropriate to describe the qualities of a top dart-player. This distinction is not very clear-cut: the variability in taking penalty kicks should be low in soccer, while conversely we showed (Smeets et al., 2002) that a low variability is not important for all aspects of dart throwing. By a carefull analysis of the variability of goal-directed behviour, we can find out how the visuomotor transformation underlying that behaviour is structured.

Adaptation is a concept that is used to describe changes in sensorimotor behaviour in reponse to changes in sensory information. I propose that this change in behaviour is not due to a recalibration of the sensory information, but can be fully explained by a reweighting of information (Smeets et al., 2006).

Publications on variability, learning & adaptation

  • van der Kooij K, Smeets JBJ. (2018) Reward-based motor adaptation can generalize across actions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition. in press (reprint, DOI).
  • van der Kooij K, Oostwoud Wijdenes L, Rigterink T, Overvliet KE & Smeets JBJ. (2018). Reward abundance interferes with error-based learning in a visuomotor adaptation task. PLOS ONE 13, e0193002 (reprint,DOI).
  • Schot WD, Brenner E, Smeets JBJ (2017). Unusual prism adaptation reveals how grasping is controlled. eLife, 6, e21440. (reprint, DOI)
  • Oostwoud Wijdenes L, Brenner E, Smeets JBJ (2016) Exposing sequence learning in a double-step task. Experimental Brain Research, 234:1701-1712 (reprint, DOI)
  • van der Kooij K, Overvliet KE, Smeets JBJ (2016) Temporally Stable Adaptation is Robust, Incomplete and Specific. European Journal of Neuroscience, 44:2708-2715 (reprint, DOI)
  • Schot WD, Brenner E, Smeets JBJ (2014) Simultaneous adaptation of the thumb and index finger of the same hand to opposite prism displacements. Journal of Neurophysiology, 111: 2554-2559 (reprint, DOI)
  • Narain D, Mamassian P, van Beers RJ, Smeets JBJ, Brenner E (2013). How the statistics of sequential presentation influence the learning of structure. PLoS One 8(4):e62276 (reprint, DOI)
  • Narain D, van Beers RJ, Smeets JBJ, Brenner E. (2013) Sensorimotor priors in non-stationary environments. Journal of Neurophysiology, 109:1259-1267 (reprint, DOI)
  • Sousa R, Smeets JBJ, Brenner E. (2013). The influence of previously seen objects' sizes in distance judgments Journal of Vision, 13(2)2, 1-8 (reprint, DOI)
  • van Beers RJ, Brenner E, Smeets JBJ (2013) Random walk of motor planning in task-irrelevant dimensions. Journal of Neurophysiology, 109:969-977 (reprint, DOI)
  • van der Kooij K, Brenner E, van Beers RJ, Schot WD, Smeets JBJ (2013) Alignment to natural and imposed mismatches between the senses. Journal of Neurophysiology, 109:1890-1899 (reprint, DOI)
  • Schot WD, Brenner E, Sousa R, Smeets JBJ (2012) Are people adapted to their own glasses? Perception, 41:991-993 (reprint, DOI)
  • Brenner E, Smeets JBJ (2011) Quickly ‘learning ’ to move optimally. Experimental Brain Research, 213:153-161 (reprint, DOI)
  • de Grave DDJ, Brenner E, Smeets JBJ (2011) Using a stick does not necessarily alter judged distances or reachability. PLoS ONE, 6(2):e16697 (reprint, DOI)
  • de Grave DDJ, Brenner E, Smeets JBJ (2011) Judgments of reachability are independent of visuomotor adaptation. Perception, 40:962-974 (reprint)
  • van Beers RJ, van Mierlo C.M., Smeets JBJ, Brenner E (2011) Reweighting visual cues by touch. Journal of Vision, 11(10):20,1-16 (reprint, JOV)
  • Muller CMP, Brenner E, Smeets JBJ (2009) Different cue weights at the same place. Journal of Vision 9(11):26, 1-5 (reprint, JOV)
  • Slijper H, Richter J, Over E, Smeets J, Frens M. (2009) Statistics predict kinematics of hand movements during everyday activity. Journal of Motor Behavior 41:3-9 (reprint)
  • Muller, C.M.P., Brenner, E., Smeets, J.B.J. (2009) . Maybe they are all circles: clues and cues. Journal of Vision 9(9):10, 1-5 (reprint, JOV
  • Muller CPM, Brenner E, Smeets JBJ (2009) Testing a counter-intuitive prediction of Optimal Cue Combination. Vision Research 49:134-139 (reprint, DOI)
  • Brenner E, Smeets JBJ (2009) Sources of variability in interceptive movements. Experimental Brain Research 195:117-133 (reprint, DOI)
  • Smeets JBJ, Brenner E (2008) Grasping Weber's Law. Current Biology 18:R1089-R1090 (reprint, DOI)
  • Brenner E, Mamassian P, Smeets JBJ (2008) If I saw it, it probably wasn’t far from where I was looking. Journal of Vision 8(2):7, 1-10 (reprint, JOV)
  • Brenner E, Granzier JJM, Smeets JBJ (2007) Combining local and global contributions to perceived colour: an analysis of the variability in symmetric and asymmetric colour matching. Vision Research, 47:114-125 (reprint, DOI)
  • Smeets JBJ, Louw S (2007) The contribution of covariation to skill improvement is an ambiguous measure. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 33:246-249 (reprint)
  • Muller CPM, Brenner E, Smeets JBJ (2007) Living Up To Optimal Expectations Journal of Vision7(3):2,1-10(reprint, JOV)
  • Van Mierlo CM, Brenner E, Smeets JBJ (2007) Temporal aspects of cue combination. Journal of Vision 7(7):8,1-11 (reprint, JOV)
  • Brenner E, van Beers RJ, Rotman G, Smeets JBJ. (2006) The role of uncertainty in the systematic spatial mislocalisation of moving objects. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 32:811-825 (reprint)
  • Smeets JBJ, van den Dobbelsteen JJ, de Grave DDJ, van Beers RJ, Brenner E (2006) Sensory integration does not lead to sensory calibration. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103:18781-18786(DOI, reprint, supporting info)
  • López-Moliner J, Smeets JBJ, Brenner E (2004) Components of motion perception revealed: two dierent after-effects from a single moving object. Vision Research 44: 2545-2549 (reprint, DOI)
  • van den Dobbelsteen JJ, Brenner E, Smeets JBJ (2004) Body-centered visuomotor adaptation. Journal of Neurophysiology 92: 416-423 (reprint, DOI)
  • Smeets JBJ, Hooge ITC (2003) The nature of variability of saccades. Journal of Neurophysiology, 16:12-20. (reprint)
  • Van den Dobbelsteen JJ, Brenner E, Smeets JBJ (2003) Adaptation of movement endpoints to perturbations of visual feedback. Experimental Brain Research, 148:471-481 (reprint, DOI)
  • Smeets JBJ, Frens MA, Brenner E (2002) Throwing darts: timing is not the limiting factor. Experimental Brain Research, 144:268-274 (reprint, DOI)
  • Van den Dobbelsteen, J.J., Brenner E, Smeets JBJ (2001) Endpoints of arm movements to visual targets. Experimental Brain Research, 138:279-287. (reprint, DOI, comment in Neuroreport)
  • de Lussanet MHE, Smeets JBJ, Brenner E (2002) The relation between task history and movement strategy. Behavioural Brain Research, 129:51-59. (reprint)
  • de Lussanet MHE, Smeets JBJ, Brenner E (2001) The effect of expectations on hitting moving targets: influence of the preceding target's speed. Experimental Brain Research, 137:247-248. (reprint, DOI)
  • Smeets JBJ (2000) The relation between movement parameters and motor learning. Experimental Brain Research, 132:550-552. (reprint, DOI)
  • Smeets JBJ (1994) Biarticular muscles and the accuracy of motor control. Human Movement Science 13:587-600 (reprint)

My other areas of research are:

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