• Patterner
    665
    I've occasionally noticed something, thought nothing of it, and later learned it has a name. For example, I cannot stare precisely at very small things. Like the period at the end of a sentence. My eyes jerk around. Turns out that's called saccades.

    Another is when I tilt my head back and forth as far as I can (not a huge range of motion with this movement), the visual field doesn't move smoothly. It kind of looks like a bunch of still frames. I don't remember what this is called.

    So I'm wondering what this other thing is called. On my mobile phone, I can scroll through three home screens, each filled with icons. If I'm on the second screen, and I want to hit the top left icon on the first screen, I scroll once, and touch the icon. But sometimes I'm not paying enough attention. I'm actually on the third screen. So I scroll once, and touch the top left icon on the second screen. Annoying, because I have to wait for that app to open, close it, then do what I intended in the first place.

    But here's the thing. Often enough, I start to put my finger down, and realize before I touch it that I'm on the wrong screen, and it's the wrong icon. But I can't stop myself. It seems I've initiated a movement that cannot be interrupted. It has to run its course. Although I can think quickly enough to see what's happening, and know that I'd like to stop my finger so I don't have to go through the process of waiting for the wrong app to open, close it, then do what I intended in the first place, I can't (not sure this is the right way to word it) think fast enough to actually stop my finger.

    Does any of that have a name?
  • tim wood
    8.9k
    Ask, next time you're at both the eye-doctor's and your regular check-up.
  • Mikie
    6.4k
    A good lounge topic.

    I have no idea what it’s called.
  • Patterner
    665
    Heh. I'm thinking it's something that might be common in people, like those other things I mentioned. I learned long ago that I'm not the first person to do or think anything. So others must have this, and it's probably already a field of study, or at least there's been an experiment on it. Delay between being conscious of something, and being able to do something about it. Seems like the flip-side of Libet.
  • punos
    469
    I don't know, but maybe this: ballistic movement
  • Patterner
    665

    Thanks. Never heard of that.
  • BC
    13.3k
    We exist within a simulation, and as it happens the software has developed glitches. There is nothing the occupants of a simulation can do about the software/hardware.

    Just joking.

    On the one hand, there is the function of the eyeballs. Various factors can affect the way the images are received by the retina and then transmitted. On the other hand, there is the way the visual cortex in the brain processes the signals from the eyes, Other parts of the brain are involved in responding to vision (or hearing, taste, touch, smell, proprioception, balance, and so on).

    That's about the extent of my understanding. Do you have perceptual aberrations (if that's what you are experiencing) in other contexts? Are you under the influence of any drugs -- prescribed or otherwise? Are your visual experiences problematic for you (like, it interferes with visual tasks besides the cell phone problem)?

    As noted above, all this is in the bailiwick of ophthalmologists. You could make an appointment to have your vision checked out.
  • Patterner
    665

    I'm apparently not describing the situation very well. It's not a visual problem at all. I should scroll twice before tappint the top left icon. But I'm not paying enough attention, and I only scroll once before tapping the icon.

    The oddness is that I realize my mistake after my finger begins to descend, but before it touched the icon, but I can't do anything about it. It seems my "tap the icon" command to my finger is irrevocable. Even though I know it's a mistakes, and want to correct it, I can't. I believe it's what these two are experiencing:
    https://www.instagram.com/reel/C7ukDr-uagx/?igsh=NWV4bTl2aGhwbW43
    In at least some cases, they know they're about to hit the bell, but can't stop. We could possibly say their arms have too much momentum. But when it's just my finger, that's not the case. I simply can't give my finger the command to stop in time.
  • punos
    469

    In my thinking, the reason what you described happens is because if your brain sends a nerve signal to your hand or finger to touch the icon, by the time you have time to think and send a nerve signal to correct the first one, the first signal has already arrived and executed the action. All nerve signals down that specific nerve path propagate at the same speed, and thus can't outrun prior signals. It appears from what i can find that the inability to cancel or stop a nerve impulse after it has been transmitted is known as the "final common path" principle or the "point of no return" in neurophysiology.
  • Patterner
    665

    That makes perfect sense. Thank you very much.

    I wonder what happens when a batter tries to check his swing.
  • punos
    469
    I wonder what happens when a batter tries to check his swing.Patterner

    I think what the batter is doing is based on how the ball looks to him as it's traveling towards him. He has learned to anticipate the future position of the ball when it reaches the optimal distance for hitting it, by virtue of training and practice. There is probably an initial period where there is some very short time to think before committing to any nerve transmissions.
  • Patterner
    665

    But, for some reason, even though the movement began, just as when I start to tap the icon, the batter can put a stop to it, unlike me with the finger tap. My guess would be that check swings were never actually fully committed swings that were stopped. Rather, with so many muscles involved in swinging, some never got the swing command. The wrist muscles might be the last to get the signal. Instead, they get the signal to prevent the swing. But many muscles earlier in the chain were already moving, and many swings can't be checked.
  • punos
    469

    I think you are right. I also thought that it may be that the learned reflex can be buffered until the conscious thought to execute releases it, and it may come in two parts where one set of muscles fires according to one part of his perception of the ball, and then the second set fires according to another part of his perception of the ball fractions of a second apart. I assume it takes practice to get very good at that.
  • punos
    469

    I'm also sure you can train yourself to be more conscious about taping that icon. It's probably a good idea to at least run that experiment on yourself. See how it goes, and see what you learn.
  • Patterner
    665
    I assume it takes practice to get very good at that.punos
    And they usually fail, it seems to me. The large muscles that are in motion can't be stopped sufficiently by the smaller ones. Still, they are able to try.

    I'm also sure you can train yourself to be more conscious about taping that icon. It's probably a good idea to at least run that experiment on yourself. See how it goes, and see what you learn.punos
    Difficulty to test it. If I know I'm on the wrong screen, I don't commit myself in the first place.

    Fighting what I guess would be called reflexive action is interesting, though. When an animal darts out in front of me as I'm driving, it seems like a reflex to slam on the brakes and turn the wheel to avoid it. But that's not a good idea, because you might end up in the other lane, hitting another car head on. Better to kill the critter than yourself and others in both cars.
  • punos
    469
    Difficulty to test it. If I know I'm on the wrong screen, I don't commit myself in the first place.Patterner

    Then i would say that the aim would be to always know what screen you're on. This ability to interrupt high level reflexes is probably uniquely human.

    I'm reminded of the Gom Jabbar test in Dune:
  • BC
    13.3k
    What a relief! There is nothing wrong with your eyeballs -- the problem is behind them.

    Riffing on @punos...

    There is such a thing as muscle memory. While I type this, I do not -- cannot -- control my fingers consciously. In the same way, I have difficulty fitting my bicycle lock into its holder IF I look at it while perform the task. My arm and hand muscles know how to do this; visual information gets in the way.

    If you use your phone a lot, you are using muscle memory to touch the various 'points' on the screen that result in actions. Having 3 home screens complicates the task. Points that deliver one result on screen 3 won't do the same thing on screen. You know that already.

    I am not a heavy mobile phone user, but I also have 3 screens. Being an occasional user, I have to look at the screen to navigate and touch the right points.

    Precisely coordinated eye/hand actions, or coordinating two separate actions on an object (sliding the screen right or left and touching point 'x') is not a sure-fire thing--as the video shows.

    Fortunately for all of us, there is no risk of you launching nuclear missiles by touching the wrong app icon.

    Any performance can usually be improved. I suggest you slow down (at the cost of semi-seconds).

    1 Practice picking up the phone and determining which screen you are on. Focus. (A semi-second?)
    2. Practice sliding the screen WITHOUT touching the app icon automatically. In other words, suppress the automatic action. (This may be slightly painful. You will survive.)
    3. Visually confirm that you are looking at the desired screen. (<1/2 second)
    4. Touch the desired icon,

    Rearranging the icons would help you slow down (again costing you a second or two). Or, maybe only the most important icons should be on screen 1. You can afford to slow certain actions in order to achieve more accurate results.

    Some athletes have improved performance by visualizing how they carry out a given move, like pitching a ball. The visualize themselves carrying out the action perfectly. This, alone, isn't going to make a huge difference, but it can help improve performance along with actual practice.

    Happily, your mobile phone and you will have a long and happier relationship.
  • BC
    13.3k
    I'm reminded of the Gom Jabbar test in Dune:punos

    This film depicts the scene and the characters from the book the way I imagined it. Always a plus.

    Dogs seem to be able to suppress desires -- like not lunging forward to grab the treat dangling in front of it until an OK is registered. For sure, not an ability the Bene Gesseret would find interesting, but a capacity in animals upon which we built (in evolutionary time).
  • punos
    469
    I never read the Dune book or books, but i do have a very soft spot for the old Dune movie which i saw as a child.

    Dogs seem to be able to suppress desires -- like not lunging forward to grab the treat dangling in front of it until an OK is registered.BC

    Perhaps this feature is an emergent property facilitated by the complexity of the neocortex in mammalian brains. The difference between dogs and humans in this regard would probably be an issue of degree.
  • Patterner
    665

    Heh. Thanks, but I'm not overly concerned with these mis-taps. I was just thinking that knowing I was doing something I didn't want to be doing, but being unable to stop, is very interesting. I like the idea in punos' second post.
  • Patterner
    665
    I never read the Dune book or bookspunos
    If I could makes any one book required reading for everyone, it would probably be Dune.
  • punos
    469
    I like the idea in punos' second post.Patterner

    :smile: :up:

    If I could makes any one book required reading for everyone, it would probably be Dune.Patterner

    If I could ever get around to it, i definitely would. I just find it difficult to read fiction.
  • mcdoodle
    1.1k


    The psychology literature doesn't designate a name for this phenomenon, though there's plenty of research about it. Libet called last minute changes of intention 'the veto power'. Robert Reimer in this paper summarises it thus:

    ...agents are normally embodied in their own body with all its neural processes. However, this feeling of embodiment can also be interrupted if neural processes accompanying an earlier action intention cause a muscle contraction that does not conform with the agent’s current action intention. This non-conformity, in turn, is grounded in the delay of those neural processes that accompany the agent’s earlier action intention and the slowness of her current intention’s neural processes. — Robert Reimer
  • Patterner
    665

    Thanks!


    I just find it difficult to read fiction.punos
    After decades of reading fantasy/scifi, I haven't been able to get started for the last few years.
  • L'éléphant
    1.4k
    I was just thinking that knowing I was doing something I didn't want to be doing, but being unable to stop, is very interesting.Patterner



    Impulse is just that. You're not really unaware of what you're about to do -- so this is not a reflex -- but you couldn't stop the momentum.
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