Initial Impulse Control for Ballistic Aiming

Open Access
Di Santi, Justin Samuel
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • David A. Rosenbaum, Thesis Supervisor
  • David A. Rosenbaum, Honors Advisor
  • Theresa K Vescio, Faculty Reader
  • Ballistic Aiming
  • Physical Feedback
  • Fitt's Law
  • Impulse Control
  • Preperformance Routines
  • Preparatory Hand Motion
This study was broken into two parts, the first part relating to the current study and the second being an exploration of a new application of the cognitive and sport psychology literature. The initial study examined the effect of eliminating feedback in a Fitts’ ballistic aiming task on probability of task success. The goal of this study was to clarify the roles that available time and opportunity for feedback play in Fitts’ Law by isolating initial impulse by giving no opportunity for feedback. Target width and distance were modified in a 3x3 design, creating 9 conditions randomized in 3 trial blocks. The participant's (n=19) accuracy results were recorded and confirmed our hypothesis that probability of task success decreases as a function of increasing index of difficulty. This line of research, as well as that of the field of sport psychology, led to the second part of our study, an exploratory project on the concept of preparatory hand motion (PHM). Common examples of this motion include throwing a dart, a Frisbee, or a basketball free throw. Our goal was to review literature related to this topic, make predictions about the role that the nature of the target (namely the target size and target distance) plays in this preparatory hand motion, and examine what functionality these movements have to determine if they can be trained.