We have investigated the effect of directional uncertainty on the planning of reaching movements. For this purpose, we have used sections of annuli as spatial cues to indicate the directional range within which the target would be presented. The results showed that the reaction time of the reaching response increased with cue range and with the angle between the center of the cue and the target. In addition, the initial direction of movement was biased toward the center of the cue. These results conformed to the predictions of the capacity-sharing model. This model assumes that the processing resources used for motor planning are limited and distributed as a function of the range of directions indicated by the cue, and that when the target appears, these resources are reallocated to represent the response to be executed.
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Acknowledgements This research was supported by a Merit Review Award from the Medical Research Service of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. We thank Matt Chafee for his comments on a previous version of the manuscript.
- Motor preparation
- Processing capacity
- Reaction time