Age-related changes in motor planning for prior intentions: a mouse tracking reach-to-click task

Shujing Zhang, Kate Wilmut, Kaiyu Zhang, Shan Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When we complete sequential movements with different intentions, we plan our movements and adjust ahead. Such a phenomenon is called anticipatory planning for prior intentions and is known to decline with age. In daily life activities, we often need to consider and plan for multiple demands in one movement sequence. However, previous studies only considered one dimension of prior intentions, either different types of onward actions or different precisions of fit or placement. Therefore, in this study, we investigated anticipatory planning for both extrinsic (movement direction) and intrinsic (fit precision) target-related properties in a computer-based movement task and analyzed the computer cursor movement kinematics of both young and older adults. We found that older people consider and adjust for different properties step-by-step, with movement direction being considered as a prior intention during reach movement and fit precision as a motor constraint during drop movement. The age-related changes in the completion of onward actions are constrained by one’s general cognitive ability, sensorimotor performance and effective motor planning for prior intentions. Age-related decline in motor planning can manifest as counterproductive movement profiles, resulting in suboptimal performance of intended actions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1323798
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Early online date18 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2024
Externally publishedYes

Data Availability Statement

The original contributions presented in the study are included in the article/Supplementary material, further inquiries can be directed to the corresponding author.


  • aging
  • computer mouse cursor tracking
  • kinematic analysis
  • motor planning
  • prior intention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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