Lateralized effects of target location on reaction times when preparing for manual aiming at a visual target

Masami Ishihara, Kuniyasu Imanaka, Shuji Mori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


To elucidate the temporal characteristics of information processing for motor action differing in complexity in relation to both perceptual and cognitive information processing, we investigated whether the reaction times (RTs) to a visual target would be affected by task complexity (finger lifting or manual aiming), pre-cueing (with a pre-cue or without a pre-cue), or target location (five horizontal positions). Using the right hand, seven right-handed subjects performed two tasks, finger lifting and manual aiming at a target, with or without a pre-cue. The pre-cue announced the location of the target to be presented. An ANOVA showed significant interactions between task and location and between pre-cue and location with no significant interaction between task and pre-cue, indicating that the task-location interaction does not depend on whether or not a pre-cue is given. The manual-aiming RTs were longer than the finger-lifting RTs, and the effects of the target location on the RTs differed for finger lifting and manual aiming. It can be assumed that the longer RTs of manual aiming reflect the time for information processing that is needed when preparing for the aiming action per se, which is an extra movement performed in addition to the simple initiation of finger lifting. Differential RTs (DRTs) calculated by subtracting the finger-lifting RTs from the aiming RTs were therefore examined. The DRTs significantly differed for target locations (i.e., a lateralized effect), with the DRTs for an ipsilateral target appearing to be significantly shorter than those for contralateral and central targets. The lateralized effect appearing on the DRTs may be mediated by the processing of visual-spatial information about visual targets as motor preparations are made for manual aiming.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-582
Number of pages20
JournalHuman movement science
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2002
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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