Repetitive pointing to remembered proprioceptive targets improves 3D hand positioning accuracy

John M. Barden, Robert Balyk, V. James Raso, Marc Moreau, Keith Bagnall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Repetitive pointing movements to remembered proprioceptive targets were investigated to determine whether dynamic proprioception could be used to modify the initial sensorimotor conditions associated with an active definition of the target position. Twelve blindfolded subjects used proprioception to reproduce a self-selected target position as accurately as possible. Ten repetitions for each limb were completed using overhead and scapular plane pointing tasks. A 3D optical tracking system determined hand trajectory start and endpoint positions for each repetition. These positions quantified three-dimensional pointing errors relative to the target position and the initial and preceding movement repetitions, as well as changes in movement direction and extent. Target position and cumulative start position errors were significantly greater than the corresponding preceding movement (inter-repetition) errors, and increased as the trial progressed. In contrast, hand trajectory start and endpoint inter-repetition errors decreased significantly with repeated task performance, as did movement extent, although it was consistently underestimated for each repetition. Pointing direction remained constant, except for the angle of elevation for scapular plane pointing, which consistently decreased throughout the trial. The results suggest that the initial conditions prescribed by actively defining a proprioceptive target were subsequently modified by dynamic proprioception, such that movement reproduction capability improved with repeated task performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-205
Number of pages22
JournalHuman Movement Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Neural control
  • Non-visual aiming
  • Proprioception
  • Reaching movements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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