Force And Temporal Control In Continuous And Synchronization Unimanual Finger Tapping

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Du, Yue
Clark, Jane E
Temporal control is essential to human movement both in the activities of daily living and the skilled actions of the athlete, dancer, or musician. Although the temporal control ability has been widely and well-studied for over a hundred years, little attention has been paid to the other movement parameters such as space and force that might influence temporal control. To probe the relationship between force and temporal control, 17 right-handed participants were required to perform a continuous (without metronome) and synchronization (with metronome) tapping task with temporal constraints (1500, 1000, or 500 ms tapping interval) and with no force constraint. The results reveal that the contact time for a tap (initial time when finger touches the surface) was less controlled than the time of the tap's peak force. In addition, in the synchronization task, tapping error at the time of peak force was closer to zero. The force production pattern as reflected in peak force, impulse, and the time to peak force varied across tapping modes and intervals. Taken together, these results suggest that force and temporal control are systematically related to each other in finger tapping and that different force production strategies may be used to optimize the temporal control.