Sub-movement organisation, pen pressure and muscle activity are modulated to precision demands in 2D tracking

M.A. Huysmans, M.J.M. Hoozemans, A.J. van der Beek, M.P. de Looze, J.H. van Dieen

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The authors investigated how tracking performance, submovement organization, pen pressure and muscle activity in forearm and shoulder muscles were affected by target size in a 2D tracking task performed with a pen on a digitizer tablet. Twenty-six subjects took part in an experiment, in which either a small dot or a large dot was tracked, while it moved quasirandomly across a computer screen at a constant velocity of 2cm/s. The manipulation of precision level was successful, because mean distance to target and the standard deviation of this distance were significantly smaller with the small target than with the large target. With a small target, subjects trailed more behind the center of target and used submovements with larger amplitudes and of shorter duration, resulting in higher tracking accuracy. This change in submovement organization was accompanied by higher pen pressure, while at the same time muscle activity in the forearm extensors and flexors was increased, indicating higher endpoint stability. In conclusion, increased precision demands were accommodated by both a different organization of submovements and higher endpoint stability in a 2D tracking task performed with a pen on a digitizer tablet. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-388
JournalJournal of Motor Behavior
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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