About this Research Topic
In the skill acquisition and rehabilitation literature a lot of attention is placed on the central and peripheral action systems – the efferent and motor performance side of the behavior. However there is a quiet but steady interest being expressed in the role of sensation – and the perception of sensation – in improving performance. There is growing recognition that the primary function of different sensory systems can be trained in clinical populations to improve detection and spatial/object recognition, and likewise the more hidden function of perception of sensations can improve motor performance by improving feedback and feedforward. The research is also spanning different sensory modalities from vision and audition to somatosensory and vestibular. The training of sensation (and perception) for improvement of skilled performance in non-clinical populations is following a similar trend.
The relative contribution of training sensory input, versus training (motor) output, is relatively unknown, although there are some emerging reports of the importance of sensory factors in motor performance prediction models in clinical populations. What is also unknown are the likely mechanisms of training effect and the inter-relatedness with attention, the development of body schema and body image, and associated spatial perceptions. We know severely clinically impaired sensation contributes to impaired function, but what is the more subtle difference in sensory perception between a "super-mover" such as a professional dancer or athlete and someone who is simply "clumsy?"
In this edition we are looking for articles that address these emerging knowns and explore the unknowns. What would a training schedule that incorporated sensory perception look like for a violinist or a rugby player? Would it be the same as for someone after stroke or knee surgery? How do we address multimodal processing of sensory information? Are more modalities better and does it follow the rules of task specificity? Or is there simply an attentional effect that is non-discriminative and priming rather than training? We know something about the timing and nature of feedback for skill acquisition – how do we use this information to train sensory feedback for those with impairment?
We are interested in articles that explore these topics conceptually and empirically in humans – systematic reviews, opinion pieces, randomized controlled trials, pilot reports, imaging and mechanistic studies, in clinical and non-clinical populations. Our aim is to continue to clarify the role of sensing for a well-functioning human brain.
Keywords: senses, perception, feedback, feedforward, rehabilitation, learning