Timing and the control of rhythmic upper-limb movements

Tal Shafir, Susan H. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Accurate timing of limb displacement is crucial for effective motor control. The authors examined the effects of movement velocity, duration, direction, added mass, and auditory cueing on timing, spatial, and trajectory variability of single- and multijoint rhythmic movements. During single-joint movements, increased velocity decreased timing and spatial variability, whereas increased movement duration increased timing variability but decreased spatial variability. For multijoint movements, regardless of condition, increasing velocity decreased joint timing, spatial, and trajectory variability, but all hand variabilities were unaffected by velocity, duration, load, or direction. Timing, spatial, and trajectory variability was greater at the shoulder compared with the elbow and minimal at the hand, supporting the notion that reaching movements are planned in hand space as opposed to joint space.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-84
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Motor Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Human
  • Kinematics
  • Motor control
  • Multijoint
  • Timing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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