Age and Not the Preferred Limb Influences the Kinematic Structure of Pointing Movements

Kurt W. Kornatz, Winston-Salem State University
Brach Poston, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
George E. Stelmach, Arizona State University


In goal-directed movements, effective open-loop control reduces the need for feedback-based corrective submovements. The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of hand preference and aging on submovements during single-and two-joint pointing movements. A total of 12 young and 12 older right-handed participants performed pointing movements that involved either elbow extension or a combination of elbow extension and horizontal shoulder flexion with their right and left arms to a target. Kinematics were used to separate the movements into their primary and secondary submovements. The older adults exhibited slower movements, used secondary submovements more often, and produced relatively shorter primary submovements. However, there were no interlimb differences for either age group or for the single-and two-joint movements. These findings indicate that open-loop control is similar between arms but compromised in older compared to younger adults.