Muscle activation was measured using EMG in 28 males (n = 28) while participants caught visually identical balls of known and unknown weights (50, 1.32, 2.18, and 2.99 kg) under variable (1–10s) and constant (3s) foreperiods. EMG integrals were computed for three time intervals before the catch (anticipatory), and one after (compensatory). Load uncertainty caused the CNS to use an anticipatory strategy characterized by preparation to catch balls of an unknown weight by utilizing about 92% of the muscle activation used to catch the heaviest possible ball under the known weight condition. The CNS appeared to scale anticipatory muscle activation to afford an opportunity to catch a ball of an unknown weight between .50 and 2.99 kg. The constant 3s foreperiod, which permitted temporal anticipation, did not influence the anticipatory neuromotor strategy adopted by the CNS to cope with load uncertainty. Load uncertainty also altered compensatory neuromotor control in catching.
Berg is with the Dept. of Kinesiology and Health, Miami University, Oxford, OH. Hughes is with the Dept. of Statistics, Miami University, Oxford, OH.