Impact forces cannot explain the one-target advantage in rapid aimed hand movements

Marianne Biegstraaten*, Jeroen B J Smeets, Eli Brenner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


A pointing movement is executed faster when a subject is allowed to stop at the first target than when the subject has to proceed to a second target ("one-target advantage"). Our hypothesis was that this is because the impact at the target helps to stop the finger when the finger does not have to proceed to a second target. This hypothesis would predict that the horizontal force at contact with the first target should be larger when there is only one-target. Modelling smooth movements with larger forces at contact using a minimum-jerk model, shows that the peak velocity is slightly higher and it occurs later during the movement when there is only one target. Although the one-target advantage was present in our experiment, the horizontal force at contact in the one-target condition was not larger than in the two-target condition. The time of the maximum velocity did not differ, but the maximum velocity was higher in the one-target condition. Thus our hypothesis is rejected, favouring a non-mechanical explanation of the one-target advantage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-376
Number of pages12
JournalHuman Movement Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2003


  • Impact force
  • Motor control
  • One-target advantage


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