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Jeroen B.J. Smeets, Leonie Oostwoud Wijdenes, and Eli Brenner

We begin our response by clarifying the concept of detection, and explaining why this is needed for initiating, but not for adjusting a movement. We present a simulation to illustrate this difference. Several commentators referred to studies with results that might seem in conflict with our proposal that movement adjustments have short latencies because there is no need to detect anything. In the last part of our response, we discuss how we interpret these studies as being in line with our proposal.

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Leonie Oostwoud Wijdenes, Eli Brenner, and Jeroen B.J. Smeets

This study set out to determine whether the fastest online hand movement corrections are only responses to changing judgments of the targets’ position or whether they are also influenced by the apparent target motion. Introducing a gap between when a target disappears and when it reappears at a new position in a double-step paradigm disrupts the apparent motion, so we examined the influence of such a gap on the intensity of the response. We found that responses to target perturbations with disrupted apparent motion were less vigorous. The response latency was 10 ms shorter when there was a gap, which might be related to the gap effect that has previously been described for initiating eye and hand movements.

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Jeroen B.J. Smeets, Leonie Oostwoud Wijdenes, and Eli Brenner

We can adjust an ongoing movement to a change in the target’s position with a latency of about 100 ms, about half of the time that is needed to start a new movement in response to the same change in target position (reaction time). In this opinion paper, we discuss factors that could explain the difference in latency between initiating and adjusting a movement in response to target displacements. We consider the latency to be the sum of the durations of various stages in information processing. Many of these stages are identical for adjusting and initiating a movement; however, for movement initiation, it is essential to detect that something has changed to respond, whereas adjustments to movements can be based on updated position information without detecting that the position has changed. This explanation for the shorter latency for movement adjustments also explains why we can respond to changes that we do not detect.