Modification of trajectory of a pointing movement in response to a change in target location

J. F. Soechting, F. Lacquaniti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Arm movements toward a target involving motion at the shoulder and elbow joints and restricted to the sagittal plane were investigated. During some movements, target location changes suddenly, thus requiring an intentional correction of the trajectory by the human subject. The reaction time to correct the trajectory was comparable to the reaction time to initiate the movement. Coordination of arm and shoulder movements in this task was achieved by means of a reduction of the number of degrees of freedom of the movement. Such a simplification of the task took two forms. Angular acceleration at the elbow and shoulder were linearly related to each other in the deceleratory phase of the movement, when the trajectory had to be corrected as well as when no such correction was required. When the correction required an increase or decrease in flexor torque at the shoulder and elbow, electromyographic (EMG) activity in anterior deltoid and biceps increased or decreased simultaneously. When the correction demanded more activity in triceps and deltoid, these muscles were activated sequentially instead. It is concluded that rapid corrections of a movement involve the production of stereotyped patterns of activity in shoulder and elbow muscles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)548-564
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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