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Paola Cesari and Karl M. Newell

The experiment reported examined: (a) the role of the geometrical body scaled informational invariant for the transition of human grip configurations; (b) whether the same invariant can be scaled considering also the force applied during the grasp phase; and (c) how the temporal duration of the grasp and displacement phases of prehension are scaled to the object properties of size and mass. Adult subjects performed a series of trials in reaching, grasping, and displacing spheres that varied in size and mass. The grip transitions were described by the body scaled relation:

K=logLs+logMsa+bMh+cLh
where Ls and Ms are, respectively, the diameter and the mass of the spheres grasped and Lh and Mh are the length and the mass of the hand. The impulse during the grasp phase was linearly related with the mass of the spheres within each density. The temporal durations of the grasp and displacement components were scaled coherently to the object properties. These findings provide support to the hypothesis that the grasp and displacement components of prehension are organized coherently within a single action.

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Karl M. Newell and Paola Cesari

Smeets and Brenner provide a very clear and useful statement of the work that has been stimulated by Jeannerod's 1984 paper but seem more concerned about the viability of model fitting than model assumptions. The theoretical and practical limitations of viewing “grasping as nothing more than pointing” are noted. We reemphasize the importance in prehension of the union of the hand with the object in the act of realizing a task goal.

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Yin-Hua Chen and Paola Cesari

Evaluating time properly is crucial for everyday activities from fundamental behaviors to refined coordinative movements such as in sport playing. Lately the concept of the existence of a unique internal clock for evaluating time in different scales has been challenged by recent neurophysiology studies. Here we provide evidence that individuals evaluate time durations below and above a second based on two different internal clocks for sub- and suprasecond time ranges: a faster clock for the subsecond range and a slower one for suprasecond time. Interestingly, the level of precision presented by these two clocks can be finely tuned through long-term sport training: Elite athletes, independently from their sport domains, generate better time estimates than nonathletes by showing higher accuracy and lower variability, particularly for subsecond time. We interpret this better time estimation in the short durations as being due to their extraordinary perceptual and motor ability in fast actions.

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Yin-Hua Chen, Isabella Verdinelli and Paola Cesari

This paper carries out a full Bayesian analysis for a data set examined in Chen & Cesari (2015). These data were collected for assessing people’s ability in evaluating short intervals of time. Chen & Cesari (2015) showed evidence of the existence of two independent internal clocks for evaluating time intervals below and above the second. We reexamine here, the same question by performing a complete statistical Bayesian analysis of the data. The Bayesian approach can be used to analyze these data thanks to the specific trial design. Data were obtained from evaluation of time ranges from two groups of individuals. More specifically, information gathered from a nontrained group (considered as baseline) allowed us to build a prior distribution for the parameter(s) of interest, and data from the trained group determined the likelihood function. This paper’s main goals are (i) showing how the Bayesian inferential method can be used in statistical analyses and (ii) showing that the Bayesian methodology gives additional support to the findings presented in Chen & Cesari (2015) regarding the existence of two internal clocks in assessing duration of time intervals.

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Chiara Milanese, Gabriella Facci, Paola Cesari and Carlo Zancanaro

The aim of the current work was to test the effects of an innovative teaching method in improving motor skills. We evaluated the effectiveness of an error-based instruction method (Method of Amplification of Error, MAE) in increasing the performance of 13-year-old school students in the standing long jump. We compared MAE with direct verbal instruction (DI) and no instruction (Control group). The rationale for the MAE method is that giving a participant the opportunity to experience directly his or her own main movement error will trigger a positive searching strategy that will in turn help him or her to improve performance. The effectiveness of MAE is because of the type of feedback provided, namely the same motor-perceptive language used by the participant. Results showed that for the MAE and DI groups the length of jump increased from pre- to post-instruction, but postinstruction performance of the MAE group was significantly that of both of the other groups. It appears that MAE is an easy-to-use method for rapidly improving motor performance in the school teaching setting.