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Amanda S Therrien and Ramesh Balasubramaniam (2010)

Timing and visual feedback constraints on repetitive finger force production

Experimental Brain Research, 201:673-679.

While much is known about sequential effects in motor timing, less is understood about whether movement parameters such as force show sequential dependencies. In this study, we examined the effect of timing constraints on repetitive unimanual force production sequences. Ten healthy participants produced a series of pinch grip forces in time to a metronome and to visually specified force amplitudes. Either visual feedback of force produced or the auditory metronome removed 10 s into the experimental trial, with participants performing continued responses for the remaining 20 s. In the continuation trials, a negative lag-1 autocorrelation in the inter-response intervals (IRIs) was observed as is commonly seen in motor timing tasks. However, removal of visual feedback resulted in a systematic increase in mean force output through the course of the trial, resulting in positive lag-1 autocorrelation values. An interaction was found between mean IRI and peak force (PF) magnitude, with greater force variability seen for the larger intervals. However, the imposition of dual force and timing constraints had no effect either on the underlying variability of the PF or on the IRIs. The results are discussed in the context of force and time being independently specified components of a generalized motor program.

timing, force production, visual, repetitive actions