Using sequential structure to improve visuomotor control

Abstract

In daily life, people make rapid, goal-directed movements to interact with their environment. Since these movements are goal-directed, the outcome of the movement is important. A plan is typically formulated to make the movement using visual information about target location before the movement is initiated. However, in dynamic environments people need to track the location of an object if it moves during the reach. Additionally, it would be beneficial to motor performance to learn the distribution of target locations over multiple reaches. In this paper we develop a simple model that describes how people might exploit the sequential structure over a series of trials to improve rapid visuomotor control. We then present empirical data from a sequential tracking task that investigates how people's knowledge of the location of objects is updated over trials to improve pointing performance. The model is able to predict when people will hit and miss targets with reasonable success. Interestingly, the results suggest that not only are people able to use sequential information but also look for it even when it does not exist.


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