Journal of Motor Behavior (J MOTOR BEHAV )

Publisher: Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation, Heldref Publications


Journal of Motor Behavior is devoted to an understanding of the basic processes and mechanisms underlying motor control, learning, and development. The journal publishes articles from such diverse disciplines as biomechanics, kinesiology, movement disorders, neuroscience, psychology, and rehabilitation. A wide variety of articles report empirical findings, mathematical and computational models, and new theories and theoretical perspectives, as well as methodological and technological developments. Review articles and invited articles by recognized authorities also appear.

Impact factor 1.41

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  • Website
    Journal of Motor Behavior website
  • Other titles
    Journal of motor behavior, JMB
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  • Material type
    Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Journal / Magazine / Newspaper, Internet Resource

Publisher details

Heldref Publications

  • Pre-print
    • Archiving status unclear
  • Post-print
    • Archiving status unclear
  • Conditions
    • Publisher last contacted 3rd February 2010
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    ​ white

Publications in this journal

  • Journal of Motor Behavior 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT Treadmill locomotion can be characterized by consistent step-to-step kinematics despite the redundant degrees of freedom. The authors investigated the effect of disrupting the crural fascia in decerebrate cats to determine if the crural fascia contributed to kinematic variability and propulsion in the limb. Crural fasciotomy resulted in statistically significant decreases in velocity and acceleration in the joint angles during level walking, before, during, and after paw-off, particularly at the ankle. A further finding was an increase in variance of the limb segment trajectories in the frontal plane. The crural fascia therefore provides force transmission and reduction in kinematic variability to the limb during locomotion.
    Journal of Motor Behavior 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT When passing through apertures, individuals scale their actions to their shoulder width and rotate their shoulders or avoid apertures that are deemed too small for straight passage. Carrying objects wider than the body produces a person-plus-object system that individuals must account for in order to pass through apertures safely. The present study aimed to determine whether individuals scale their critical point to the widest horizontal dimension (shoulder or object width). Two responses emerged: Fast adapters adapted to the person-plus-object system by maintaining a consistent critical point regardless of whether the object was carried while slow adapters initially increased their critical point (overestimated) before adapting back to their original critical point. The results suggest that individuals can account for increases in body width by scaling actions to the size of the object width but people adapt at different rates.
    Journal of Motor Behavior 05/2014;
  • Journal of Motor Behavior 04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: If slow positioning movements are governed only by a recognition process (e.g., Schmidt, 1975) then subject’s performance should be independent of the mode of response (active versus passive). Two groups learned a criterion movement under either active or passive conditions following which KR was withdrawn. Although no differences were apparent on acquisition trials, active-group performance deteriorated dramatically during KR withdrawal while passive-group performance remained stable. These results suggest that recall and recognition are potentially separable in slow movements on the basis of the information available to the performer.
    Journal of Motor Behavior 08/2013; 10(1):69-76.
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    ABSTRACT: Experiments using rapid-positioning movements in humans, where the subject is suddenly and unexpectedly provided with a change in the load characteristics of the limb, are described. Taken together, the pattern of results supports a mass-spring model of unidirectional limb action, where the limb moves to a position defined by the relative tensions in the agonist and antagonist. As well, various results provide evidence contrary to predictions from an impulse-timing viewpoint, where the motor program times the onset of impulses to the musculature, and against a feedback-processing viewpoint, where limb position is defined by minimizing positioning error indicated by feedback. The evidence suggests that the role of phasing in motor programs may be different for unidirectional actions on the one hand and multi-directional and/or multi-component actions on the other.
    Journal of Motor Behavior 08/2013; 12(2):149-161.
  • Journal of Motor Behavior 08/2013; 21(2):157-162.
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    ABSTRACT: It is proposed that the human motor system is organized to use hard-ware and/or software non-linear oscillator mechanisms, the output of these oscillators being responsible for driving the limbs via signals to muscle groups. Following earlier theoretical development, it is argued that these muscle groupings act as a unit and themselves are likely to behave as a non-linear system. The attributes of non-linear oscillators are many, and they are potentially significant for the explanation of motor behavior. This paper reviews and presents recent experiments that investigated the properties of muscular aftercontraction. The basic finding shows that subsequent to a period of moderate strain against a fixed surface the treated limb exhibits prolonged involuntary molar oscillations in the plane of the treatment. These results provide for the presence of driving oscillator mechanisms in the human motor apparatus. The mechanisms show generality of action in that directed attention can lead to oscillation of untreated limbs. Overall, the experiments showed that the movements exhibited the mutual interaction, synchronization, and preservation of phase relationships that are fundamental properties of non-linear oscillators. The picture that emerges is that these mechanisms can drive involuntary movements that are richly patterned: like slow versions of voluntary movements. The aftercontraction phenomenon proves to be an excellent tool for research on the oscillatory substrate of human motor organization.
    Journal of Motor Behavior 08/2013; 18(2):117-145.
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    ABSTRACT: The present paper provides some hypotheses concerning the role of sensorimotor mechanisms in the coordination and programming of multimovement behaviors. The primary database is from experiments on the control of speech, a motor behavior that inherently requires multimovement coordination. From these data, it appears that coordination may be implemented by calibrated, sensorimotor actions which couple multiple movements for the accomplishment of common functional goals. The data from speech and select observations in other motor systems also reveal that these sensorimotor linkages are task-dependent and may underlie the intermovement motor equivalence that characterizes many natural motor behaviors. In this context, it is hypothesized also that motor learning may involve the calibration of these intermovement sensorimotor actions. These observations in turn provide some alternative perspectives on the concept of a motor program, primarily suggesting that individual movements and muscle contractions are not wholly prespecified, but shaped by sensorimotor adjustments.
    Journal of Motor Behavior 08/2013; 16(2):195-232.
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    ABSTRACT: The study of sign languages provides a promising vehicle for investigating language production because the movements of the articulators in sign are directly observable. Movement of the hands and arms is an essential element not only in the lexical structure of American Sign Language (ASL), but most strikingly, in the grammatical structure of ASL: It is in patterned changes of the movement of signs that many grammatical attributes are represented. The “phonological„ (formational) structure of movement in ASL surely reflects in part constraints on the channel through which it is conveyed. We evaluate the relation between one neuromotor constraint on movement–regulation of final position rather than of movement amplitude–and the phonological structure of movement in ASL. We combine three-dimensional measurements of ASL movements with linguistic analyses of the distinctiveness and predictability of the final position (location) versus the amplitude (length). We show that final position, not movement amplitude, is distinctive in the language and that a phonological rule in ASL predicts variation in movement amplitude–a development which may reflect a neuromuscular constraint on the articulatory mechanism through which the language is conveyed.
    Journal of Motor Behavior 08/2013; 15(1):2-18.
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    ABSTRACT: A paradigm involving the static force-time curve was used to study the mechanisms through which gains in maximal isometric strength are achieved during repeated testing. Twelve males performed three maximal contractions of the plantar flexors on each of six test days. Each contraction was executed as rapidly as possible, with the force recorded on a rapidly moving pen recorder. Although highly significant increases in maximal plantar flexor strength occurred over the six days, no changes were seen in the maximal rate of tension development. However, assessment of the amount of force reached at absolute time intervals revealed that more force was attained at the early time intervals on the first few days of testing than on the later days, indicating a distinct change in the shape of the static force-time curve. Several neural mechanisms are suggested to explain the alteration in shape of the static force-time curve which accompanies the acquisition of maximal strength.
    Journal of Motor Behavior 08/2013; 15(1):63-73.
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    ABSTRACT: This study compared central nervous system organizational processes underlying balance in children of three age groups: 15-31 months, 4-6 years, and 7-10 years, using a movable platform capable of antero-posterior (A-P) displacements or dorsi-plantar flexing rotations of the ankle joint. A servo system capable of linking platform rotations to A-P sway angle allowed disruption of ankle joint inputs, to test the effects of incongruent sensory inputs on response patterns. Surface electromyography was used to quantify latency and amplitude of the gastrocnemius, hamstrings, tibialis anterior, and quadriceps muscle responses. Cinematography provided biomechanical analysis of the sway motion.
    Journal of Motor Behavior 08/2013; 17(2):131-147.
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    ABSTRACT: In an exploration of factors underlying the developmental increase in the speed of simple reaction to an auditory stimulus, two experiments were undertaken, with subjects aged 4, 10, and 20. The first experiment demonstrated that provision of visual feedback caused improvement for younger subjects but not for adults, whereas neither practice nor variable feedback caused any differential change. The second experiment was a simulated game where visual feedback was contingent on a “hit„ on the previous trial. Following a hit the target moved faster, following a miss, slower. Practice caused a considerable improvement for the 4-year old subjects, but not for the older subjects. The nature of the hit or miss feedback on the previous trial had powerful effects on the simple reaction times. For all subjects, a miss resulted in a subsequent substantial increase in speed on the next trial. Following a hit, the adults were unaffected, but the youngest subjects were substantially slower. The results are interpreted in terms of inappropriate relaxation following a hit for the 4-year old subjects, together with active strategic behavior by the adults, following a miss. It is concluded that one variable (incentive provided by a miss) affects simple reaction time for all ages, that two (disincentive provided by a hit, and visual feedback) differentially affect subjects of different ages, and that a fourth (use of a “tradeoff„ strategy) is not available to the youngest subjects.
    Journal of Motor Behavior 08/2013; 14(1):69-80.
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    ABSTRACT: The difference between the Henry “memory-drum” theory and our version is that ours includes an additional assumption that, after programming has occurred, the resultant representation can be stored in short-term memory. Otherwise, the essential ideas are the same in the two theories. Implications of the presently available data for the distinction between the theories are discussed. Regardless of how one evaluates our added assumption, it is clear that the essential insight of the Henry theory has fared very well in the 20 yr since the theory first appeared in print.
    Journal of Motor Behavior 08/2013; 12(2):169-171.
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    ABSTRACT: The cerebellum not only receives extensive proprioceptive input from the periphery but also has bidirectional monosynaptic connections with the hypothalamus. This latter structure, in turn, is reciprocally interconnected with brainstem visceral centers that also project to the cerebellum. Through these connections, information derived from somatic receptors that arrives at the cerebellum can directly influence visceral centers and circuits. It is suggested that the visceral responses seen during locomotor activity can be continuously monitored and partially regulated through such connections.
    Journal of Motor Behavior 08/2013; 21(4):518-525.
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    ABSTRACT: Fitts’ law is an information-theoretic view of human motor behavior developed from Shannon’s Theorem 17, a fundamental theorem of communications systems. Using data from Fitts’ original experiments, we demonstrate that Fitts’ choice of an equation that deviates slightly from the underlying principle is perhaps unfounded, and that the relationship is improved by using an exact adaptation of Shannon’s equation.
    Journal of Motor Behavior 08/2013; 21(3):323-330.
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    ABSTRACT: Actors must determine whether the properties of the surface layout are sufficient to meet their specific requirements for performing an action. Warren’s (1984) study of bipedal stair climbing has demonstrated the significance of intrinsic, body-scaled measures of environmental properties for defining perceptual categories relevant to action. Whereas the absolute measure of the perceptual boundary between “climbable” and “not climbable” varied according to the actor’s size and mass, the perceived boundary was a constant proportion of each actor’s leg length. Our current study examined the perceived maximum seat height (SHmax) for the act of sitting. Experiment 1 delineated the range of surface heights that were perceived to afford sitting on. When expressed as a function of each person’s leg length (L), SHmax was remarkably stable across individuals. Unexpectedly, it was quite close to the maximum riser height determined by Warren. Experiment 2 examined whether this similarity reflected a common biodynamic requirement, since climbing and sitting require actors to lift their center of gravity above the surface of support. Perceived critical heights were obtained for both acts using the same methods and apparatus. The perceived maximum heights for each act were virtually identical. These findings are consistent with the possibility that the information used in determining critical action boundaries is already scaled with reference to some physical dimension of the actor.
    Journal of Motor Behavior 08/2013; 19(3):367-384.