Aging and Distal Effect Anticipation when Using Tools

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The impact of age on controlling tools with sensorimotor transformations is surveyed with regard to action control. Recent evidence lets us assume that the distal action effect (e.g., moving cursor on a display) rather than the proximal action effect (e.g., moving hand that manipulates the tool) determines the efficiency of tool use. In Experiment 1 different gains were explored with a motion‐ and a forcecontrolled tool. In correspondence with our assumptions the results revealed evidence that Fitts' law holds for distal action‐effect movements, but less for proximal action‐effect movements. Most importantly, this was not only true for the motion‐controlled tool, but also for the force‐controlled one. Especially for the elder group we found a more efficient use of the motion‐controlled tool in comparison to the force‐controlled tool, while the gain did not show any impact at all. In Experiment 2 the dominance of the action effect on motor control was confirmed in an experiment with a digitizer tablet. The tablet amplitude was held constant, but again, movement times followed the perceived index of difficulty on the display. This was even more pronounced in the elder participants. It is concluded that Fitts' law did not rely on the movements of the motor system, but on the distal action effects on the display (changes in visual space). With aging distal action‐effect control plays an increasing role on perceiving and controlling tools with sensorimotor transformations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Psychology
Issue numberS1
Pages (from-to)345
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 24.07.2012
EventXXX International Congress of Psychology - ICP 2012: Vitamin and mineral complexes for athletes - Kapstadt, Germany
Duration: 22.07.201227.07.2012
Conference number: 30