OSA's Digital Library

Journal of the Optical Society of America A

Journal of the Optical Society of America A


  • Vol. 20, Iss. 7 — Jul. 1, 2003
  • pp: 1419–1433

Statistical decision theory and the selection of rapid, goal-directed movements

Julia Trommershäuser, Laurence T. Maloney, and Michael S. Landy  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA A, Vol. 20, Issue 7, pp. 1419-1433 (2003)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (987 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



We present two experiments that test the range of applicability of a movement planning model (MEGaMove) based on statistical decision theory. Subjects attempted to earn money by rapidly touching a green target region on a computer screen while avoiding nearby red penalty regions. In two experiments we varied the magnitudes of penalties, the degree of overlap of target and penalty regions, and the number of penalty regions. Overall, subjects acted so as to maximize gain in a wide variety of stimulus configurations, in good agreement with predictions of the model.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(330.4060) Vision, color, and visual optics : Vision modeling
(330.7310) Vision, color, and visual optics : Vision

Original Manuscript: October 1, 2002
Revised Manuscript: January 30, 2003
Manuscript Accepted: January 30, 2003
Published: July 1, 2003

Julia Trommershäuser, Laurence T. Maloney, and Michael S. Landy, "Statistical decision theory and the selection of rapid, goal-directed movements," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 20, 1419-1433 (2003)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. J. Trommershäuser, L. T. Maloney, M. S. Landy, “Statistical decision theory and trade-offs in the control of motor response,” Spatial Vis. 16(3–4), 255–275 (2003). [CrossRef]
  2. J. O. Berger, Statistical Decision Theory and Bayesian Analysis, 2nd ed. (Springer, New York, 1985).
  3. D. Blackwell, M. A. Girschick, Theory of Games and Statistical Decisions (Wiley, New York, 1954).
  4. T. S. Ferguson, Mathematical Statistics: A Decision Theoretic Approach (Academic, New York, 1997).
  5. L. T. Maloney, “Statistical decision theory and biological vision,” in Perception and the Physical World, D. Heyer, R. Mausfeld, eds. (Wiley, New York, 2002), pp. 145–189.
  6. T. Kaminsky, A. M. Gentile, “Joint control strategies and hand trajectories in multijoint pointing movements,” J. Motor Behav. 18, 261–278 (1986). [CrossRef]
  7. J. F. Soechting, F. Lacquaniti, “Invariant characteristics of a pointing movement in man,” J. Neurosci. 1, 710–720 (1981). [PubMed]
  8. M. Dornay, Y. Uno, M. Kawato, R. Suzuki, “Minimum muscle-tension chance trajectories predicted by using a 17-muscle model of the monkey’s arm,” J. Motor Behav. 2, 83–100 (1996). [CrossRef]
  9. T. Flash, N. Hogan, “The coordination of arm movements: An experimentally confirmed mathematical model,” J. Neurosci. 5, 1688–1707 (1985). [PubMed]
  10. Y. Uno, M. Kawato, R. Suzuki, “Formation and control of optimal trajectory in human multijoint arm movement: minimum torque-change model,” Biol. Cybern. 61, 89–101 (1989).
  11. J. F. Soechting, C. A. Bunea, U. Herrmann, M. Flanders, “Moving effortlessly in three dimensions: Does Donders’ law apply to arm movement?” J. Neurosci. 15, 6271–6280 (1995). [PubMed]
  12. D. A. Rosenbaum, R. J. Meulenbrock, R. J. Vaughan, C. Jansen, “Posture-based motion planning: applications to grasping,” Psychol. Rev. 108, 709–734 (2001). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  13. U. Castiello, “The effects of abrupt onset of 2-D and 3-D distractors on prehension movements,” Percept. Psychophys. 63, 1014–1025 (2001). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  14. J. Dean, M. Brüwer, “Control of human arm movements in two dimensions: paths and joint control in avoiding simple linear obstacles,” Exp. Brain Res. 97, 497–514 (1994). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  15. L. A. Howard, S. P. Tipper, “Hand deviations away from visual cues: indirect evidence for inhibition,” Exp. Brain Res. 113, 144–152 (1997). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  16. M. Mon-Williams, J. J. Tresilian, V. L. Coppard, R. G. Carson, “The effect of obstacle position on reach-to-grasp movements,” Exp. Brain Res. 137, 497–501 (2001). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  17. S. P. Tipper, L. A. Howard, S. R. Jackson, “Selective reaching to grasp: evidence for distractor interference effects,” Vision Cogn. 4, 1–38 (1997).
  18. D. A. Rosenbaum, R. J. Meulenbrock, R. J. Vaughan, C. Jansen, “Coordination of reaching and grasping by capitalizing on obstacle avoidance and other constraints,” Exp. Brain Res. 128, 92–100 (1999). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  19. A. F. C. Hamilton, D. M. Wolpert, “Controlling the statistics of action: obstacle avoidance,” J. Neurophysiol. 87, 2434–2440 (2002). [PubMed]
  20. P. N. Sabes, M. I. Jordan, “Obstacle avoidance and a perturbation sensitivity model for motor planning,” J. Neurosci. 17, 7119–7128 (1997). [PubMed]
  21. P. N. Sabes, M. I. Jordan, D. M. Wolpert, “The role of inertial sensitivity in motor planning,” J. Neurosci. 18, 5948–5957 (1998). [PubMed]
  22. C. M. Harris, D. M. Wolpert, “Signal-dependent noise determines motor planning,” Nature 394, 780–784 (1998). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  23. E. Todorov, M. I. Jordan, “Optimal feedback control as a theory of motor coordination,” Nat. Neurosci. 5, 1226–1235 (2002). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  24. D. E. Meyer, R. A. Abrams, S. Kornblum, C. E. Wright, J. E. Smith, “Optimality in human motor performance: ideal control of rapid aimed movements,” Psychol. Rev. 95, 340–370 (1988). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  25. R. Plamondon, A. M. Alimi, “Speed/accuracy trade-offs in target-directed movements,” Behav. Brain Sci. 20, 279–349 (1997). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  26. N. Smyrnis, I. Evdokimidis, T. S. Constantinidis, G. Kastrinakis, “Speed-accuracy trade-offs in the performance of pointing movements in different directions in two-dimensional space,” Exp. Brain Res. 134, 21–31 (2000). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  27. J. D. Connolly, M. A. Goodale, “The role of visual feedback of hand position in the control of manual prehension,” Exp. Brain Res. 125, 281–286 (1999). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  28. M. Desmurget, S. Grafton, “Forward modeling allows feedback control for fast reaching movements,” Trends Cogn. Sci. 4, 423–431 (2000). [PubMed]
  29. W. P. Press, S. A. Teukolsky, W. T. Vetterling, B. P. Flannery, eds., Numerical Recipes in C. The Art of Scientific Computing, 2nd ed. (Cambridge U. Press, Cambridge, UK, 1992).
  30. D. H. Brainard, “The psychophysical toolbox,” Spatial Vision 10, 433–436 (1997). [CrossRef]
  31. D. G. Pelli, “The videotoolbox software for visual psychophysics: transforming numbers into movies,” Spatial Vision 10, 437–442 (1997). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  32. It is instructive to consider the extent to which visual feedback plays a role in our results. The movement times were 300–400 ms, which is barely enough time to allow for an influence of visual feedback during the movement. We ran one subject in a version of experiment 1 in which the visual stimulus disappeared as soon as the space bar was re-leased. This manipulation eliminates feedback from the relative positions of the hand and the visible target during the movement but allows for feedback by using the view of the hand and apparatus. The results were unaffected, including the movement variability and the pattern of movement end points.
  33. D. Kahneman, P. Slovic, A. Tversky, eds., Judgment un-der Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases (Cambridge U. Press, Cambridge, UK, 1982).
  34. In the 16 practice (warm-up) trials of this experiment, subjects pointed to each of the configurations twice in the penalty=0condition. Subjects were exposed to the eight novel configurations in the penalty=500condition for the first time during the experiment.

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited