Sensorimotor control and linear visuomotor gains

  • Scotto Cécile
  • Vu van Hoan
  • Casiez Géry
  • Fernandez Laure

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Fitts' law
  • Pointing movement
  • Speed/accuracy trade-off
  • Control Display gain


In everyday life, we often use graphical interfaces where the visual space is mapped to the motor space with a visuomotor gain called the Control Display gain. One of the key objectives in the field of Human Computer Interaction is to design this Control Display gain so as to enhance users' performance. Although the Control Display gain involved in Operating Systems has been found to improve users' pointing performance, the reasons for this improvement have not yet been fully elucidated, especially because the Control Display gains on Operating Systems are both non-constant and non-linear. Here we tested non-constant but linear velocity-based Control Display gains in order to determine which parameters were responsible for pointing performance changes based on analyses of the movement kinematics. Using a Fitt's paradigm, Constantains of 1 and 3 were compared with a linearly Increasing Gain (i.e., the Control Display gain increase with the motor velocity) and a Decreasing Gain (i.e., the Control Display gain decrease with the motor velocity). Three movements with various Indexes of Difficulty (ID) were tested (ID3, ID5 and ID7). The Increasing Gain was expected to increase the velocity of the initial impulse phase and decrease that of the correction phase, thus decreasing the Movement Time (MT); and the contrary in the case of the Decreasing Gain,. Although the Decreasing Gain increased MT at ID3, the Increasing Gain was found to be less efficient than the Constant Gain of 3, probably because a non-constant gain between the motion and its visual consequences disrupted the sensorimotor control. In addition, the kinematic analyses of the movements suggested that the motion profile was planned by the central nervous system based on the visuomotor gain at maximum motor velocity, as common features were observed between the Constant Gain of 1 and the Decreasing Gain, and between the Constant Gain of 3 and the Increasing Gain. By contrast, the amplitude of the velocity profile seemed to be specific to each particular visuomotor mapping process.