Interval timing and trajectory in unequal amplitude movements

M Doumas, Alan Wing, K Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


The Wing-Kristofferson (WK) model of movement timing emphasises the separation of central timer and motor processes. Several studies of repetitive timing have shown that increase in variability at longer intervals is attributable to timer processes; however, relatively little is known about the way motor aspects of timing are affected by task movement constraints. In the present study, we examined timing variability in finger tapping with differences in interval to assess central timer effects, and with differences in movement amplitude to assess motor implementation effects. Then, we investigated whether effects of motor timing observed at the point of response (flexion offset/tap) are also evident in extension, which would suggest that both phases are subject to timing control. Eleven participants performed bimanual simultaneous tapping, at two target intervals (400, 600 ms) with the index finger of each hand performing movements of equal (3 or 6 cm) or unequal amplitude (left hand 3, right hand 6 cm and vice versa). As expected, timer variability increased with the mean interval but showed only small, non-systematic effects with changes in movement amplitude. Motor implementation variability was greater in unequal amplitude conditions. The same pattern of motor variability was observed both at flexion and extension phases of movement. These results suggest that intervals are generated by a central timer, triggering a series of events at the motor output level including flexion and the following extension, which are explicitly represented in the timing system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-60
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number1
Early online date16 May 2008
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2008


  • unequal amplitude
  • movement
  • bimanual
  • timing


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