Temporal constraints in the use of auditory action effects for motor optimization

J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 2018 Nov;44(11):1815-1829. doi: 10.1037/xhp0000571. Epub 2018 Aug 9.


For quick ballistic movements the possibility of making online adjustments is limited. However, when the same action (e.g., pressing a button) is repeated multiple times, trial-by-trial adjustments are possible: Previous studies found that participants utilized auditory effects as feedback to optimize the applied force for such tone eliciting actions. In the current study, it was examined whether this action-effect-related motor adaptation also occurred if a delay was inserted between the action and its auditory effect. In 2 experiments, participants applied force impulses to a force-sensitive resistor in a self-paced schedule. Action-effect delay was manipulated between experimental blocks in the 0- to 1,600-ms range. The level of motor adaptation diminished as a function of action-effect delay, with no adaptation observable for delays longer than 200 ms, which indicates that action-effect contingency in itself is not sufficient to warrant that sensory effects will be useful for action control. A third experiment also showed that the observed temporal constraint was not absolute: Adaptation at 200-ms delay was stronger in a group of participants who were exposed to 400-ms action-tone delays before testing, than in a group exposed to a 0-ms action-tone delay, suggesting that action-effect-related motor adaptation is influenced by prior experience. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Feedback, Sensory / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Time Perception / physiology*
  • Young Adult