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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

Summer 1991, Vol. 3, No. 3, Pages 220-230.
(doi: 10.1162/jocn.1991.3.3.220)
© 1991 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Arm Trajectory Modifications During Reaching Towards Visual Targets
Article PDF (356.3 KB)

In this paper we study the question of how an aimed arm movement is modified in response to a sudden change in target location occurring during the reaction or movement time. Earlier monkey and human studies demonstrated that aimed arm movements can be elicited in quick succession, without appreciable delays in responding to the target displacement, beyond the normal reaction time. Nevertheless, it is not yet clear how this motor task is performed. A first guess is that when a new visual stimulus appears the old plan is aborted and a new one conceived. Upon analyzing human arm movements, however, we find that the observations can be well accounted for by a different movement modification scheme. It appears that a new plan is vectorially added to the original plan. Among the implications of this result is the possibility of parallel planning of elemental movements and further support for the idea that arm movements are internally represented in terms of hand motion through external space.