Fitts’ Law is modulated by movement history Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Fitts' Law is one of the most robust and well-studied principles in psychology. It holds that movement time (MT) for target-directed aiming movements increases as a function of target distance and decreases as a function of target width. The purpose of this study was to determine whether Fitts' Law is affected not only by the demands of the target on the current trial but also by the requirements for performance on the previous trial. Experiments 1 and 2 examined trial-to-trial effects of varying target width; Experiment 3 examined trial-to-trial effects of varying target distance. The findings from Experiments 1 and 2 showed that moving a finger or cursor towards a large object on a previous trial shortened the movement time on the current trial, whereas the opposite occurred with a small object. In contrast, target distance on the previous trial had no effect on movement time on the current trial. These findings suggest that performance on trial n has a clear and predictable effect on trial n+1 (at least for target width) and that Fitts' Law as it is normally expressed does not accurately predict performance when the width of the target varies from trial to trial.

publication date

  • 2018