Perceptual influences on Fitts' law. Academic Article uri icon


  • The linear relationship between movement time (MT) and index of difficulty (ID) for Fitts' type tasks has proven ubiquitous over the last 50+ years. A reciprocal aiming task (IDs 3, 4.5, 6) was used to determine if an enlarged visual display (visual angle 5.1 degrees , 7.4 degrees , or 13.3 degrees) would alter this relationship. With ID = 6, a condition typically associated with discrete action control, the largest visual display (13.3 degrees) allowed the motor system to exploit features of cyclical action control, e.g., shorter dwell times, more harmonic motion, less time decelerating the limb. The large visual display resulted in a quadratic relationship between MT and ID. For the IDs of 3 and 4.5, the visual displays did not alter the underlying control processes. The results are discussed in terms of the preference of the motor system to assemble movements from harmonic basis functions when salient visual information is provided.

published proceedings

  • Exp Brain Res

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Kovacs, A. J., Buchanan, J. J., & Shea, C. H.

citation count

  • 38

complete list of authors

  • Kovacs, AJ||Buchanan, JJ||Shea, CH

publication date

  • September 2008