Our brain is known to automatically optimize effort expenditure during motor coordination, such that for example, during bimanual braking of a bicycle, a well-oiled brake will automatically be used more than a corroded, heavy brake. But how does our brain infer the effort expenditure? All previous motor coordination models have believed that the effort in a task is known precisely to our brain, solely from the motor commands it generates. Here we show that this belief is incorrect. Through experiments and simulation we exhibit that in addition to the motor commands, the returning haptic signals play a crucial role in the inference of the effort during a force sharing task. Our results thus elucidate a previously unknown sensory-motor association that has major ramifications for our understanding of motor coordination and provides new insights into how sensory modifications due to ergonomics, stroke and disease can affect motor coordination in humans.
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