Kinematic Analysis of Early Online Control of Goal-Directed Reaches: A Novel Movement Perturbation Study

in Motor Control
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This study was designed to examine the importance of vision to corrective processes associated with a mechanical perturbation to the limb during goal-directed aiming. With a hand held stylus, under vision and no vision conditions, performers reached to a target represented by the intersection of perpendicular lines. The stylus was connected to an air compressor and engineered such that 80 ms following movement initiation reaches were perturbed by a short air burst either in the direction of, or opposite to, the movement. Spatial position analysis of the limb at early kinematic landmarks revealed that the single direction bursts were successful in advancing and hindering the movement progress. Furthermore, within subject trial-to-trial variability analysis indicated that performers adopted different control strategies for dealing with the perturbations depending on the availability of vision. The present findings suggest that a continuous form of online control is exercised during the early portions of the aiming trajectories. This form of control may be mediated by visual or proprioceptive information.

Grierson and Gonzalez are with the Dept. of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Grierson is also with the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. Elliott is with the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, John Moores University, Liverpool, England.