Arbitrary Sensorimotor Mapping

Both of these spatially guided movements contrast with another form of nonstandard mapping termed arbitrary mapping. When nonspatial visual inputs, such as color, are used to determine the goals of action, an arbitrary mapping must be learned. Imagine a building with rooms of two colors: yellow rooms that require doorknobs to be twisted clockwise and blue rooms that require the opposite. Reaching toward the doorknob relies on standard mapping. Opening the doors requires arbitrary mapping, at least to do so reliably on the first attempt. Although this example is artificial, most signal- or symbol-guided behavior, including almost all language-guided behavior, depends on arbitrary mapping. Examples include stopping at a red light or at the sound of the word "stop."



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