A trade-off study revealing nested timescales of constraint
Number of pages
SourceFrontiers in Physiology, 3, (2012), article 116
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OLO
SW OW PWO [owi]
Frontiers in Physiology
SubjectLearning and Plasticity; Social Development
This study investigates human performance in a cyclic Fitts task at three different scales of observation, either in the presence (difficult condition) or in the absence (easy condition) of a speed–accuracy trade-off. At the fastest scale, the harmonicity of the back and forth movements, which reflects the dissipation of mechanical energy, was measured within the timeframe of single trials. At an intermediate scale, speed and accuracy measures were determined over a trial. The slowest scale pertains to the temporal structure of movement variability, which evolves over multiple trials. In the difficult condition, reliable correlations across each of the measures corroborated a coupling of nested scales of performance. Participants who predominantly emphasized the speed-side of the trade-off (despite the instruction to be both fast and accurate) produced more harmonic movements and clearer 1/f scaling in the produced movement time series, but were less accurate and produced more random variability in the produced movement amplitudes (vice versa for more accurate participants). This implied that speed–accuracy trade-off was accompanied by a trade-off between temporal and spatial streams of 1/f scaling, as confirmed by entropy measures. In the easy condition, however, no trade-offs nor couplings among scales of performance were observed. Together, these results suggest that 1/f scaling is more than just a byproduct of cognition. These findings rather support the claim that interaction-dominant dynamics constitute a coordinative basis for goal-directed behavior.
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