Information entropy analysis of discrete aiming movements

Shih Chiung Lai, Gottfried Mayer-Kress, Jacob J. Sosnoff, Karl M. Newell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Information entropy and mutual information were investigated in discrete movement aiming tasks over a wide range of spatial (20-160 mm) and temporal (250-1250 ms) constraints. Information entropy was calculated using two distinct analyses: (1) with no assumption on the nature of the data distribution; and (2) assuming the data have a normal distribution. The two analyses showed different results in the estimate of entropy that also changed as a function of task goals, indicating that the movement trajectory data were not from a normal distribution. It was also found that the information entropy of the discrete aiming movements was lower than the task defined indices of difficulty (ID) that were selected for the congruence with Fitts' law. Mutual information between time points of the trajectory was strongly influenced by the average movement velocity and the acceleration/deceleration segments of the movement. The entropy analysis revealed structure to the variability of the movement trajectory and outcome that has been masked by the traditional distributional analyses of discrete aiming movements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-304
Number of pages22
JournalActa Psychologica
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Discrete aiming movements
  • Fitts' law
  • Information entropy
  • Mutual information
  • Normal distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Information entropy analysis of discrete aiming movements'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this