Extrinsic tau-coupling and the regulation of interceptive reaching under varying task constraints

Joanne Smith, Madeleine Grealy, Gert-Jan Pepping

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We investigated a general theory accounting for the guidance of ongoing movements in an interceptive reaching task. The aim was to assess the premise of tau-coupling that the coupling constant k, the ratio of taus(τs) of motion gaps between hand and object, reflects the kinematics of the on-going movement. The spatial and temporal constraints of the interceptive action were manipulated in three task conditions. While the time dependent counterpart of k, K(t) exhibited task effects, k itself could not distinguish between task manipulations. K(t) showed large variability during the initial acceleration phase, small variability during the rest of the movement, and task dependent changes during the final deceleration phase of interception. The findings highlight the importance of clarifying what constitutes as τ-coupling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347 – 367
Number of pages21
JournalMotor Control
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014


  • interceptive reaching
  • hand object motion gaps
  • τ-coupling

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