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Influence of cueing on the preparation and execution of untrained and trained complex motor responses

Keywords: cueing, cue-target interval, response complexity, response practice, reaction time, movement time.

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Abstract:

this study investigated the influence of cueing on the performance of untrained and trained complex motor responses. healthy adults responded to a visual target by performing four sequential movements (complex response) or a single movement (simple response) of their middle finger. a visual cue preceded the target by an interval of 300, 1000, or 2000 ms. in experiment 1, the complex and simple responses were not previously trained. during the testing session, the complex response pattern varied on a trial-by-trial basis following the indication provided by the visual cue. in experiment 2, the complex response and the simple response were extensively trained beforehand. during the testing session, the trained complex response pattern was performed in all trials. the latency of the untrained and trained complex responses decreased from the short to the medium and long cue-target intervals. the latency of the complex response was longer than that of the simple response, except in the case of the trained responses and the long cue-target interval. these results suggest that the preparation of untrained complex responses cannot be completed in advance, this being possible, however, for trained complex responses when enough time is available. the duration of the 1st submovement, 1st pause and 2nd submovement of the untrained and the trained complex responses increased from the short to the long cue-target interval, suggesting that there is an increase of online programming of the response possibly related to the degree of certainty about the moment of target appearance.

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