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J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 2003 Dec;29(6):1179-90.

Proprioceptive perception of phase variability.

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  • 1Indiana University, Department of Psychology, Bloomington, IN 47405-7007, USA.


Previous work has established that judgments of relative phase variability of 2 visually presented oscillators covary with mean relative phase. Ninety degrees is judged to be more variable than 0 degrees or 180 degrees, independently of the actual level of phase variability. Judged levels of variability also increase at 180 degrees. This pattern of judgments matches the pattern of movement coordination results. Here, participants judged the phase variability of their own finger movements, which they generated by actively tracking a manipulandum moving at 0 degrees, 90 degrees, or 180 degrees, and with 1 of 4 levels of Phase Variability. Judgments covaried as an inverted U-shaped function of mean relative phase. With an increase in frequency, 180 degrees was judged more variable whereas 0 degrees was not. Higher frequency also reduced discrimination of the levels of Phase Variability. This matching of the proprioceptive and visual results, and of both to movement results, supports the hypothesized role of online perception in the coupling of limb movements. Differences in the 2 cases are discussed as due primarily to the different sensitivities of the systems to the information.

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