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Article Dans Une Revue Neuroscience Année : 2017

Daily modulation of the speed–accuracy trade-off


Goal-oriented arm movements are characterized by a balance between speed and accuracy. The relation between speed and accuracy has been formalized by Fitts’ law and predicts a linear increase in movement duration with task constraints. Up to now this relation has been investigated on a short-time scale only, that is during a single experimental session, although chronobiological studies report that the motor system is shaped by circadian rhythms. Here, we examine whether the speed–accuracy trade-off could vary during the day. Healthy adults carried out arm-pointing movements as accurately and fast as possible toward targets of different sizes at various hours of the day, and variations in Fitts’ law parameters were scrutinized. To investigate whether the potential modulation of the speed–accuracy trade-off has peripheral and/or central origins, a motor imagery paradigm was used as well. Results indicated a daily (circadian-like) variation for the durations of both executed and mentally simulated movements, in strictly controlled accuracy conditions. While Fitts’ law was held for the whole sessions of the day, the slope of the relation between movement duration and task difficulty expressed a clear modulation, with the lowest values in the afternoon. This variation of the speed–accuracy trade-off in executed and mental movements suggests that, beyond execution parameters, motor planning mechanisms are modulated during the day. Daily update of forward models is discussed as a potential mechanism.
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Dates et versions

hal-01565963 , version 1 (20-07-2017)



Nicolas Gueugneau, Thierry Pozzo, Christian Darlot, Charalambos Papaxanthis. Daily modulation of the speed–accuracy trade-off. Neuroscience, 2017, 356 (6), pp.142 - 150. ⟨10.1016/j.neuroscience.2017.04.043⟩. ⟨hal-01565963⟩
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