Modification of trajectory of a pointing movement in response to a change in target location

J Neurophysiol. 1983 Feb;49(2):548-64. doi: 10.1152/jn.1983.49.2.548.


1. Arm movements toward a target involving motion at the shoulder and elbow joints and restricted to the sagittal plane were investigated. During some movements, target location changed suddenly, thus requiring an intentional correction of the trajectory by the human subject. 2. The reaction time to correct the trajectory was comparable to the reaction time to initiate the movement. 3. Coordination of arm and shoulder movements in this task was achieved by means of a reduction of the number of degrees of freedom of the movement. Such a simplification of the task took two forms. 4. Angular acceleration at the elbow and shoulder were linearly related to each other in the deceleratory phase of the movement, when the trajectory had to be corrected as well as when no such correction was required. 5. When the correction required an increase or decrease in flexor torque at the shoulder and elbow, electromyographic (EMG) activity in anterior deltoid and biceps increased or decreased simultaneously. When the correction demanded more activity in triceps and deltoid, these muscles were activated sequentially instead. It is concluded that rapid corrections of a movement involve the production of stereotyped patterns of activity in shoulder and elbow muscles.

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 Joint / innervation
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Kinesthesis / physiology
  • Motion Perception / physiology
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Muscles / innervation
  • Shoulder Joint / innervation
  • Stereotyped Behavior / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology*
  • Wrist Joint / innervation