We investigated whether a representation of a visual target can be stored in memory and used to support the online control of reaching movements. To distinguish between the use of a stored target representation for movement planning versus online control, we employed a novel movement environment in which participants could not fully plan their action in advance of movement initiation; that is, the spatial mapping between the movement of a computer mouse and the on-screen movement of a cursor was randomly varied from trial to trial. As such, participants were required to use online control to reach the target position. Reaches were examined in full-vision and three memory-dependent conditions (0, 2, and 5 s of delay). Absolute constant error did not accumulate between full-vision and brief delay trials (i.e., the 0-s delay), suggesting a stored representation of the visual target can be used for online control of reaching given a sufficiently brief delay interval. Longer delay trials (2 and 5 s) were less accurate and more variable than brief delay trials; however, the residual accuracy of these memory-dependent actions suggests that the motor system may have access to a stored representation of the visual target for online control processes for upwards of 5 s following target occlusion.
Matthew Heath and David A. Westwood
Raimey Olthuis, John van der Kamp, Koen Lemmink, and Simone Caljouw
the online control of memory-dependent reaching? Evidence from a variable spatial mapping paradigm . Motor Control, 7 ( 4 ), 349 – 365 . doi:10.1123/mcj.7.4.349 10.1123/mcj.7.4.349 Inkpen , K. , Booth , K.S. , & Klawe , M. ( 1996 ). Interaction styles for educational computer environments