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Miya K. Rand and George E. Stelmach

This study examined how aging compromises coordinative eye-hand movements with multiple segments. Older adults and young controls performed two-segment movements with the eyes only or with the eyes and hand together. The results showed minimal age-related changes on the initiation and execution of primary saccade during the first segment. However, the older adults showed a scaling problem of saccade velocity when hand movements were included. They were also slow in stabilizing gaze fixation to the first target. Regarding hand movements, the older adults pronouncedly increased the deceleration phase compared with the controls while fixating their gazes to the target. They also increased the intersegment interval for both eye and hand movements. Taken together, aging differentially affects various components of movements, which contributes to the slowness of overall performance.

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Michael Bohan, Mitchell G. Longstaff, Arend W.A. Van Gemmert, Miya K. Rand, and George E. Stelmach

This study examined the impact of target geometry on the trajectories of rapid pointing movements. Participants performed a graphic point-to-point task using a pen on a digitizer tablet with targets and real time trajectories displayed on a computer screen. Circular- and elliptical-shaped targets were used in order to systematically vary the accuracy constraints along two dimensions. Consistent with Fitts' Law, movement time increased as target difficulty increased. Analysis of movement kinematics revealed different patterns for targets constrained by height (H) and width (W). When W was the constraining factor, movements of greater precision were characterized by a lower peak velocity and a longer deceleration phase, with trajectories that were aimed relatively farther away from the center of the target and were more variable across trials. This indicates an emphasis on reactive, sensory-based control. When H was the constraining factor, however, movements of greater precision were characterized by a longer acceleration phase, a lower peak velocity, and a longer deceleration phase. The initial trajectory was aimed closer to the center of the target, and the trajectory path across trials was more constrained. This suggests a greater reliance on both predictive and reactive control.