Age Differences on a Coincident Anticipation Task: influence of Stereotypic or "Preferred" Movement Speed

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kathleen Williams, Professor and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Two experiments were performed as an initial attempt to explain age related limitations in response accuracy on a coincident anticipation task. Five- to 9-year-old boys and adult males participated in each experiment. They made horizontal arm movements in response to stimuli from a Bassin Anticipation Timer. The results of Experiment I confirmed the findings of previous studies, which showed that young children respond early to slow moving stimuli. They were most accurate at intermediate speeds; their responses deteriorated as speed was increased. Older children and adults were more accurate at slow to intermediate speeds; their performances also declined at fast stimulus velocities. Experiment II examined use of a stereotypic or default movement speed as an explanation for these results, particularly for young children. A most comfortable movement pace was determined for each subject and was used as a baseline speed for a subsequent timing task. Four other stimuli were selected in 0.8 mph increments from the baseline speed (two faster, two slower). In addition, selected trials for 6 subjects at each age were filmed at 32 fps. X-coordinates for these trials were obtained and smoothed at 5 Hz. Movement time data suggested that 5-year-olds used a preferred or stereotypic speed, since they were accurate only when responding to their baseline speed. Older subjects matched stimuli up to and including their baselines. Kinematic characteristics confirmed the general notion of preferred speed for 5-year-olds. These same measures demonstrated that older subjects were increasingly adaptable in their responses, despite a failure to respond more accurately. Consequently, the term "preferred speed" lacks generality as an explanatory concept. Age-related shifts in the ability to modify components of a response, like average movement velocity and number of corrections, were used to explain accuracy differences.

Additional Information

Journal of Motor Behavior, 17, 389-4
Language: English
Date: 1985
Movement tasks, Young children, Boys, Adults, Males, Bassin Anticipation Timer, Response time, Preferred speed

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