Target Acquisition: Performance Measures, Process Models, and Design Implications

  • Richard J. Jagacinski


Two types of movement tasks that have been studied from an engineering psychology perspective are continuous tracking and target acquisition. These two types of tasks can be distinguished by their goals. The goal of a continuous tracking task is typically to minimize the time-averaged discrepancy between a target and the output of some dynamic system. Keeping an aircraft on a predetermined flight path or regulating the headway between one’s own automobile and another vehicle are examples of continuous tracking tasks. In contrast, the goal of a target acquisition task is to bring the output of a dynamic system to some desired terminal state. Moving one’s finger to a numerical entry key on a calculator or positioning one’s automobile in a parking space are examples of target acquisition tasks. Often continuous tracking is preceded by target acquisition in order to bring the target within close range of the tracking system. This chapter will discuss target acquisition tasks. A discussion of continuous tracking tasks can be found in the chapters by Stassen and by Allen, McRuer, and Thompson.


Movement Time Relative Accuracy Target Velocity Position Control System Robot Hand 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard J. Jagacinski
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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