A New Twist on Tracking

[from Gary Cziko 930905.0926 (still not asleep):

While in the modeling mood another thought came to mind which might be of
interest and use (although very possibly not).

In the compensatory and pursuit tracking tasks used by PCT modellers, it is
usually the vertical position of the mouse which influences the cursor.
Let's call this the 12 o'clock mouse since moving toward 12 o'clock adds to
(raises) the position of the cursor. But a 3 o'clock mouse could also be
used, so that moving the mouse to the right would move the cursor up. And
a 6 o'clock mouse would be a complete polarity shift from the 12 o'clock
mouse (down is now up).

I forget who did the study (probably Tom Bourbon), but sudden switching
from 12 to 6 o'clock has been studied to investigate the operation of two
levels of control. But would it not also be of interest to examine
tracking during which the "axis" of the mouse varied smoothly around the
clock. As it moved from 12 o'clock to 3, vertical movements of the mouse
would have less and less effect while horizontal movements would have more
and more. Having the axis move unpredictably in one direction (e.g.,
clockwise) for a while and then the other (e.g., conter-clockwise) at
varying speeds would require the subject to continuously adapt his mouse
movements to control the cursor. For some reason, this continuous
exploration of the characteristics of the mouse during a tracking task
seems to me to be more in keeping with how control is normally maintained
in real life, but I can't think of any good reasons or examples right now
(too tired).--Gary


Gary Cziko Telephone: 217-333-8527
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