Accuracy constraints upon rapid elbow movements

Daniel M. Corcos, Gerald L. Gottlieb, Gyan C. Agarwal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Kinematic and myoelectric variables associated with rapid elbow-flexion movements of various distances to targets of various widths were studied. The movement time in these experiments conformed to Fitts’ law: movement time increased with target distance and decreased with target width. Peak movement velocity, electromyograph (EMG) duration, and EMG quantity were poorly described by Fitts’ law, for increases in target width were accompanied by increases in these variables. We show with regression equations, using separate weighting coefficients, that kinematic and myoelectric variables can be related to distance and target width. The use of distance and target width as independent variables allows us to suggest that the literature does not agree on the relation between EMG and distance moved partly because of the influences of the target on this relationship. We propose that human voluntary movement involves a subject “strategy,” or set of internal constraints, that affect movement outcome. Significant elements of this strategy, such as how accurately to perform the task, may not be recognized or controlled in many movement paradigms, in spite of uniform instruction to subjects and similar apparatus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-272
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of motor behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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