The gunslinger effect: why are movements made faster when responding to versus initiating an action?

J Mot Behav. 2013;45(2):85-90. doi: 10.1080/00222895.2012.746283. Epub 2013 Feb 26.


The authors replicated and extended results from the gunfight paradigm (A. Welchman, J. Stanley, M. Schomers, R. Miall, & H. Bulthoff, 2010a) in which participants moved faster when reacting to the perceived initiation of an opponent compared to initiating an action themselves. In addition to replicating these movement time effects, the authors found that time to peak velocity, peak velocity, and movement-endpoint dispersions were similarly impacted. The findings are discussed in terms of a triggering mechanism involved in ballistic and internally generated movements.

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Competitive Behavior
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Endpoint Determination
  • Female
  • Fingers / physiology
  • Firearms*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Reaction Time / physiology*
  • Reflex, Startle / physiology
  • Young Adult