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 is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access
This research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
Carlton LG (1992) Visual processing time and the control of movement. In: Proteau L, Elliott D (eds) Vision and motor control. North-Holland, Amsterdam, pp 3–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cheng DT, Luis M, Tremblay L (2008) Randomizing visual feedback in manual aiming: reminiscence of the previous trial condition and prior knowledge of feedback availability. Exp Brain R 189:403–410. doi:10.1007/s00221-008-1436-3CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Elliott D, Khan MA (2010) Vision and goal-directed movement: neurobehavioral perspectives. Human Kinetics, ChampaignGoogle Scholar
Elliott D, Madalena J (1987) The influence of premovement visual information on manual aiming. Q J Exp Psychol A 39:541–559PubMedGoogle Scholar
Schmidt RA, Zelaznik H, Hawkins B, Frank JS, Quinn JT (1979) Motor-output variability: a theory for the accuracy of rapid motor acts. Psychol Rev 86:415–451CrossRefGoogle Scholar
van der Wel RP, Fleckenstein RM, Jax SA, Rosenbaum DA (2007) Hand path priming in manual obstacle avoidance: evidence for abstract spatiotemporal forms in human motor control. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 33:1117–1126. doi:10.1037/0096-1522.214.171.1247PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar