The dynamics of goal-directed rhythmical aiming
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Based on the kinematics of goal-directed aiming movements in a reciprocal Fitts' task, a minimal limit cycle model is proposed that is capable of producing the behavior observed at levels of task difficulty ranging from 3 to 7. From graphical and statistical analyses of the phase planes, Hooke's planes and velocity profiles, we concluded that the minimal terms to be included in the model were (i) a nonlinear damping in the form of a self-sustaining, velocity-driven Rayleigh oscillator and (ii) a nonlinear stiffness in the form of a softening spring Duffing term. The model reproduced the kinematic patterns experimentally observed in rhythmical precision aiming, accounting for 95% of the variance. The coefficients in the model changed in a systematic way when distance and precision constraints were varied, and the meaning of these changes is discussed in the framework of the dynamical patterns approach.
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