Experimental Brain Research

, 215:1 | Cite as

Preceding movement effects on sequential aiming

  • Darian T. Cheng
  • John De Grosbois
  • Jonathan Smirl
  • Matthew Heath
  • Gordon Binsted
Research Article


In this study, two experiments were devised to examine the control strategy used by individuals when performing sequential aiming movements. Of particular interest was the aiming behavior displayed when task difficulty was changed midway through a sequence of movements. In Experiment 1, target size was manipulated, as the targets were made either larger or smaller, between the 8th and 12th movement of the sequence. In Experiment 2, the amplitude between the two targets was similarly changed while the target size remained constant. Results revealed that in Experiment 1, individuals took two movements following the perturbation to target size, to re-tune their movement times in order to correspond with the new task difficulty. Conversely for Experiment 2, movement time changed immediately and in correspondence with the new target amplitude. These findings demonstrate that participants can use information from the preceding movement to prepare and guide subsequent movements—but only when target size is changed. When response amplitude changes mid-sequence, it seems individuals rely more on immediate, target-derived information. Therefore, counter to some current accounts of visual movement control, it appears that memory representations of the preceding movement can guide subsequent movements; however, this information appears selectively accessed in a context-dependent fashion.


Movement time Preceding movement effects Manual aiming Vision Index of difficulty Spatial attributes 



This research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Darian T. Cheng
    • 1
  • John De Grosbois
    • 1
  • Jonathan Smirl
    • 1
  • Matthew Heath
    • 2
  • Gordon Binsted
    • 1
  1. 1.University of British ColumbiaKelownaCanada
  2. 2.University of Western OntarioLondonCanada

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