The main purpose of this lab is to demonstrate Fitts’ Law and its applications in motor control and movement execution. 

The main purpose of this lab is to demonstrate Fitts’ Law and its applications in motor control and movement execution.

Introduction

Knowledge about the laws of movement control is essential for understanding motor learning principles. One of the most important laws in motor control is the speed-accuracy trade-off, also known as the Fitts’ Law. This principle simply refers to the fact that when movements are produced at faster speeds they tend to become less accurate. In other words, more accuracy is achieved at the expense of speed. This principle can be expressed in a mathematical formula:

MT = a + b log2(2D/W)

According to the formula, MT (movement time) is determined mainly by two factors, D (distance between the target and starting point) and W (width of the target). Fitts (1954) defined the term log2(2D/W) as the index of difficulty (ID). The ID can be used to quantify the level of difficulty for aiming movements.

Equipment and Task

Paper target sheets and pencils will be used. The targets drawn on paper vary in sizes with different distances between the targets creating 9 conditions (see the following table).

Procedures

All students will be tested as subjects. You will work in pairs or threesomes. Before testing starts, make sure that the paper sheets are mounted on the table with scotch tape or held down with the help of another person. The order in which the trials are completed should be randomized. Every person completes 9 trials that differ from one another either in distance or target size. For each trial, the subject completes tapping movements back and forth consecutively for 10 seconds. The requirement for the tapping movements is that no target should be missed even though fastest speed possible is produced. The subject should hold the pencil high enough so that the pencil will not scratch the surface of the sheet and the elbow will not touch the table. Record the number of taps (T) by counting the number of dots on the targets.

Individual Data Sheet

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