University of Twente Student Theses


Preparation is not everything : on the effects of preparation time in the flexion-extension task

Selg, O.S. (2014) Preparation is not everything : on the effects of preparation time in the flexion-extension task.

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Abstract:The Flexion extension task is a perceptual motor skill task which requires participants to use their right hand and forearm to perform a series of movements with a mechanical lever. The present research was designed to investigate the influence of several factors on reaction time in the Flexion-Extension task. The research design was based on the findings of previous studies by other researchers on key-press tasks, reaching tasks and the Flexion-Extension task. In the present experiment participants were given a randomized sequence of 1200 movements, split into 10 blocks of 20 six-movement sequences each, containing different movement distances, directions and two different precue conditions. All participants received the same randomized sequence with the same combination of conditions. Participants reacted to the appearance of a stimulus by moving the lever to the stimulus position. Prior to each stimulus, a neutral precue was presented. The present research focused especially on the effect of different precue durations and on the effect of practice on reaction times. 17 young adults aged 18-30 participated in this research. It was found that the reaction times differed significantly between the two precue conditions, showing a benefit of a 100 ms precue compared to a 1000 ms precue. While average reaction times generally decreased with practice, the differences between precues increased resulting in a difference between conditions during the last three blocks that was three times bigger on average than the difference in the first three blocks. The general cost in reaction time in the longer precue condition is likely to be due to the difficulty of maintaining visual attention. The growing difference in RT between the two precue conditions could be the result of growing fatigue which works against the beneficial effect of practice in the 1000 ms precue condition. The, already more demanding, longer precue condition is likely to be more prone to fatigue than the condition with the alerting short precue. The results of this study are going to be a basis for the re-LOAD project by Prof. Dr. Ing. Willem Verwey.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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