Dynamic field theory of movement preparation

Psychol Rev. 2002 Jul;109(3):545-72. doi: 10.1037/0033-295x.109.3.545.


A theoretical framework for understanding movement preparation is proposed. Movement parameters are represented by activation fields, distributions of activation defined over metric spaces. The fields evolve under the influence of various sources of localized input, representing information about upcoming movements. Localized patterns of activation self-stabilize through cooperative and competitive interactions within the fields. The task environment is represented by a 2nd class of fields, which preshape the movement parameter representation. The model accounts for a sizable body of empirical findings on movement initiation (continuous and graded nature of movement preparation, dependence on the metrics of the task, stimulus uncertainty effect, stimulus-response compatibility effects, Simon effect, precuing paradigm, and others) and suggests new ways of exploring the structure of motor representations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Models, Psychological
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Neurophysiology
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology