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Exp Brain Res. 2011 Oct;214(4):631-44. doi: 10.1007/s00221-011-2865-y. Epub 2011 Sep 20.

Locomoting-to-reach: information variables and control strategies for nested actions.

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Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, 1101 E 10th Street, Bloomington, IN 47405-7707, USA.


Locomoting-to-reach is a basic perception/action behavior that requires visual information for the control of both locomotion and reaching components. We investigated the visual information and the control strategies used to guide both the head and the hand on approach to a target in a locomotion-to-reach task. In this study, participants were required to locomote in the dark to a lit target in three different conditions: monocular vision/target with image size, binocular vision/target with image size, and binocular vision/point-light target (without image size). In task one, participants brought their eyes to the target. In task two, participants brought their outstretched hand to the target. Movement trajectories for both tasks were analyzed. Results show that participants were significantly more accurate when binocular information was present. In both tasks, participants were found to use a proportional rate control strategy rather than a constant τ strategy. In the walk-to-reach task, they used monocular and/or binocular τ information to guide the head and then switched to using relative disparity τ to guide the hand to final target acquisition, switching when the hand centric τ became less than the head centric τ. Dynamical models of the information and control strategies were used to perform simulations that were found to fit the data well. The conclusion is that proportional rate control is used sequentially with head centric, then hand-centric τ-based information, using at each moment the τ with the smallest value.

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