Effects of Aging on Planning and Implementing Arm Movements

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Abstract

In Experiments 1 and 2, aiming movements were performed with and without visual feedback in young and elderly adults. The initial (acceleration and deceleration phases) and secondary movement components were analyzed. Although deceleration phase accuracy decreased without visual feedback in both age groups, accuracy diminished as movement amplitude increased only in the elderly. This suggested that the elderly were more dependent on visual feedback to modify motor programs for longer duration movements. Velocity also increased less with increasing amplitude and target size in the elderly, which was related to impaired preprogramming (acceleration phase) and implementation (deceleration phase) of higher forces. This conclusion was confirmed directly in Experiment 2 because only the deceleration phase was affected by the removal of visual feedback of arm position when availability of visual information could not be predicted before movement.

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