Visual tracking and entrainment to an environmental rhythm

R. C. Schmidt, Michael J. Richardson, Christine Arsenault, Bruno Galantucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated the role that visual tracking plays in coupling rhythmic limb movements to an environmental rhythm. Two experiments were conducted in which participants swung a hand-held pendulum while tracking an oscillating stimulus or while keeping their eyes fixed on a stationary location directly above an oscillating stimulus. It was expected that the participants' rhythmic movements would become entrained to the oscillating stimulus in both conditions but that visual tracking would strengthen this entrainment. Experiment 1 investigated the role of visual tracking in establishing unintentional entrainment. Experiment 2 investigated the role of visual tracking in intentional entrainment. As predicted, participants exhibited greater unintentional coordination and more stable intentional coordination when they tracked the stimulus. These findings highlight the importance of understanding the role of eye movements in environmental coordination.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)860-870
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • eye movements
  • rhythmic movements
  • oscillator dynamic


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