Extrinsic Tau-Coupling and the Regulation of Interceptive Reaching Under Varying Task Constraints

in Motor Control
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We investigated a general theory accounting for the guidance of ongoing movements in an interceptive reaching task. The aim was to assess the premise of tau-coupling that the coupling constant k, the ratio of taus (τs) of motion gaps between hand and object, reflects the kinematics of the on-going movement. The spatial and temporal constraints of the interceptive action were manipulated in three task conditions. While the time dependent counterpart of k, K(t) exhibited task effects, k itself could not distinguish between task manipulations. K(t) showed large variability during the initial acceleration phase, small variability during the rest of the movement, and task dependent changes during the final deceleration phase of interception. The findings highlight the importance of clarifying what constitutes as t-coupling.

Smith is with the Center for Human Movement Sciences, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands. Grealy is with the School of Psychological Sciences and Health, University of Strathclyde Glasgow, Glasgow, UK. Pepping is with the School of Exercise Science, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, Australia.

Address author correspondence to Joanne Smith at J.Smith@umcg.nl.