Trajectory analysis of discrete goal-directed pointing movements: How many trials are needed for reliable data?

Jarrod Blinch, Youngdeok Kim, Romeo Chua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

A powerful tool in motor behavior research is trajectory analysis of discrete goal-directed pointing movements. The purpose of the present analysis was to estimate the minimum number of trials per participant required to achieve the conventional level of reliability for trajectory analysis. We analyzed basic measurements of movement and three common methods of trajectory analysis within the framework of generalizability theory. Generalizability studies were used to decompose the total variance of these variables into the percent contributions from person, trial, and the person-by-trial interaction. Decision studies were then used to determine the minimum number of trials required to achieve the conventional level of reliability. The number of trials per participant needed for reliable data of discrete goal-directed pointing movements depended on the dependent variable—for example, reaction times required six or ten trials, movement times required three trials, and constant error required 47 trials. For trajectory analysis, ten or fewer trials were required for reliable dependent variables during the first half of the movement (up to peak velocity or 70% of the displacement). The number of trials required for the second half of the movement rapidly increased to 47 trials at movement termination. This increase in the number of trials required for reliable analysis of the second half of the movement was indicative of online control. Finally, correlation analysis was performed with simulated correlations on subsets of trials, and all 32 trials were required. However, 18 trials might be used without a practically significant change in the correlations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2162-2172
Number of pages11
JournalBehavior Research Methods
Volume50
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018

Keywords

  • Correlation analysis
  • Generalizability theory
  • Kinematic landmarks
  • Time-normalized profiles
  • Variability analysis

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