Application of Fitts' law to individuals with cerebral palsy

Alison Gump, Miriam LeGare, Deborah L. Hunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Cerebral palsy is a condition that results in motor abnormalities as a direct consequence of injury to the developing brain. Fitts' law, which describes a speed-accuracy tradeoff in visually guided movements, has been shown to characterize the motor behavior of normal subjects during aiming tasks. To assess whether Fitts' law can also describe the aimed movements of persons with cerebral palsy, eight cerebral palsied adults participated in an aimed movement study. 12 targets were used with Indices of Difficulty ranging from 2.19 to 6.00 bits. The impact of Gan and Hoffmann's 1988 ballistic movement factor, √A , and Fitts' 1954 Index of Difficulty on subject's movement and reaction times was examined using multivariate linear models. The analysis of the full data set yielded a significant effect of √A on movement times and no significant adherence to Fitts' law. However, high error rates that could be the result of oculomotor problems among the subject group were noted, and the method of handling errors had a large effect on the results. Tracking eye position during a Fitts' law task would provide information regarding the effect of oculomotor difficulties on aiming tasks in the cerebral palsied subject group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)883-895
Number of pages13
JournalPerceptual and motor skills
Issue number3 PART 1
StatePublished - Jun 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems


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