The influences of target size and recent experience on the vigour of adjustments to ongoing movements

Eli Brenner, Hidde Hardon, Ryan Moesman, Emily M. Crowe, Jeroen B. J. Smeets

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


People adjust their on-going movements to changes in the environment. It takes about 100 ms to respond to an abrupt change in a target’s position. Does the vigour of such responses depend on the extent to which responding is beneficial? We asked participants to tap on targets that jumped laterally once their finger started to move. In separate blocks of trials the target either remained at the new position so that it was beneficial to respond to the jump, or jumped back almost immediately so that it was disadvantageous to do so. We also varied the target’s size, because a smaller, less vigorous adjustment is enough to place the finger within a larger target. There was a systematic relationship between the vigour of the response and the remaining time until the tap: the shorter the remaining time the more vigorous the response. This relationship did not depend on the target’s size or whether or not the target jumped back. It was already known that the vigour of responses to target jumps depends on the magnitude of the jump and on the time available for adjusting the movement to that jump. We show that the vigour of the response is precisely tuned to the time available for making the required adjustment irrespective of whether responding in this manner is beneficial.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1219-1229
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number4
Early online date19 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


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