Motor preparation in an anticipation-timing task
- 447 Downloads
Previous findings from experiments involving anticipation-timing tasks have indicated that a point in time may exist after which a participant is committed to producing a pre-programmed movement. For example, if a “stop” signal is given too long after a “go” signal but prior to movement initiation, the response is often still produced. It has been suggested that a startling stimulus may act to elicit a pre-programmed response in reaction time (RT) tasks without involvement of the cerebral cortex (Valls-Solé et al. 1999). The present experiment employed a startling stimulus to investigate the temporal course of motor preparation during a stop-signal anticipation-timing task. Participants timed a key release coincident with the sweep of a clock hand reaching a target. On some trials, the clock hand stopped prior to reaching the target (meaning participants were to refrain from responding), which was accompanied by either a startling acoustic stimulus (124 dB) or control stimulus (82 dB). Results from startle trials indicate that while some advance preparation of motor circuits was evident, subcortical pre-programming and storage of the motor command in circuits common to the voluntary and startle response pathways was not completed well in advance of response production.
KeywordsAnticipation-timing Motor preparation Programming Startle
- Luce RD (1986) Response times: their role in inferring elementary mental organization. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Rothwell JC (2006) The startle reflex, voluntary movement, and the reticulospinal tract. In: Cruccu G, Hallett M (eds) Brainstem function and dysfunction. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
- Slater-Hammel AT (1960) Reliability, accuracy and refractoriness of a transit reaction. Res Q 31:217–228Google Scholar
- Woodworth RS (1938) Experimental psychology. Henry Holt and Company, New YorkGoogle Scholar