Age-related differences in corrected and inhibited pointing movements
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It has been widely reported that aging is accompanied by a decline in motor skill performance and in particular, it has been shown that older subjects take longer to adapt their ongoing reach in response to a target location shift. In the present experiment, we investigated the influence of aging on the ability to perform trajectory corrections in response to a target jump, but also assessed inhibition by asking a younger and an older group of participants to either adapt or stop their ongoing movement in response to a target location change. Results showed that although older subjects took longer to initiate, execute, correct and inhibit an ongoing reach, they performed both tasks with the same level of accuracy as the younger sample. Moreover, the slowing was also observed when older subjects were asked to point to stationary targets. Our findings thus indicate that aging does not specifically influence the ability to perform or inhibit fast online corrections to target location changes, but rather produces a general slowing and increased variability of movement planning, initiation and execution to both perturbed and stationary targets. For the first time, we demonstrate that aging is not accompanied by a decrease in the inhibition of motor control.
KeywordsAging Double-step paradigm Online corrections Inhibitory motor control
We are very grateful to Robert McIntosh for the stimulus presentation and analysis programmes. We also thank Stephen H Butler for technical support at the setup stage and David Carey and Thomas Schenk for most constructive comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. This work was funded by a grant (SFRH/BD/23230/2005) from the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT, Portugal) to S. Rossit.
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