Relative or absolute? Implications and consequences of the measures adopted to investigate motor overflow
Addamo, PK and Farrow, M and Bradshaw, JL and Georgiou-Karistianis, N, Relative or absolute? Implications and consequences of the measures adopted to investigate motor overflow, Journal of Motor Behavior, 43, (3) pp. 203-12. ISSN 0022-2895 (2011) [Refereed Article]
Motor overflow is involuntary overt movement or covert muscle activity that cooccurs with voluntary movement. Overflow is present in several pathological conditions, as well as in neurologically healthy children and older adults, and can be induced in healthy young adults under effortful conditions. This motor phenomenon may provide insight into the underlying mechanisms and kinetic characteristics of voluntary and involuntary motor control in various populations. Although often measured behaviorally using force transduction techniques, different methods of calculating and presenting such overflow data have resulted in seemingly contradictory findings, with limited discussion of the advantages and limitations of different approaches. In this article, the authors examined the relevant literature to highlight significant methodological considerations for authors and readers conducting or appraising this type of research. Issues regarding the interpretation and reporting of findings are also discussed. Researchers are encouraged to continue using behavioral measures to create well-defined variables that enable the study of the kinematic characteristics of overflow, as these may offer promising new ways forward in better characterizing and understanding this intriguing movement phenomenon.