Trajectory control in targeted force impulses. VII. Independent setting of amplitude and direction in response preparation

Exp Brain Res. 1990;79(3):530-8. doi: 10.1007/BF00229322.


We have previously shown that when aiming impulses of force to unpredictable flexion and extension targets, subjects prepare themselves to respond by preselecting a default amplitude and direction. In our preceding study, where flexion and extension target ranges were symmetrical, subjects prepared a single default amplitude near the center of each of the two ranges and selected a default direction arbitrarily (Favilla, Hening et al. 1989). Following target presentation, amplitude and direction were specified gradually and in parallel. By using an experimental paradigm in which target amplitudes had unequal probabilities in only one of the two directions, we no sought to determine to what extent the default amplitude prepared by subjects is dependent on the default direction that is selected for a given trial. Five normal subjects produced isometric elbow flexion and extension force impulses to match four targets requiring responses of two amplitudes in each direction. Flexion and extension targets were of the same size. In all biased probability conditions, targets were presented in unpredictable order and, in one direction, the probability of occurrence of the targets was biased (80% versus 20%). In the other direction, the two targets were equiprobable. To maximize the effect of the default settings on response parameters, we required subjects to initiate their response in synchrony with a predictable tone occuring less than a reaction time subsequent to the presentation of the visual target. Such a short interval was chosen to disclose the default parameters selected by limiting the influence of the target just presented on the amplitude and direction of the subjects' responses.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Elbow / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*