A Kinetic Analysis of Response Variability


Newell, K.M., Carlton, L.G., & Hancock, P.A. (1984). A kinetic analysis of response variability. Psychological Bulletin, 96, 133-151.

Data pertaining to the variability of human force production as a function of the amount of force generated are synthesized in order to understand the basis for the discrepancies in previously reported estimates of this relation.  It is observed that the search for a single force variability function is of limited value because a variety of functions can emerge according to the constraints imposed upon the subject during response production.  Typically, however, within-subject force variability increases at a negatively accelerating rate with equal increments of force produced.  Linear scaling of peak force and impulse, as proposed by the pulse-step and motor-output variability models, appears too simplistic to accommodate the manner in which subjects actually achieve reduction in response variability in force production.  Rather, there is an individual specific rate of force production that minimizes variability of peak force or impulse for any given set of task constraints.

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