Using 1/f noise to examine planning and control in a discrete aiming task

André B. Valdez, Eric Amazeen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The present study used 1/f noise to examine how spatial, physical, and timing constraints affect planning and control processes in aiming. Participants moved objects of different masses to different distances at preferred speed (Experiment 1) and as quickly as possible (Experiment 2). Power spectral density, standardized dispersion, rescaled range, and an autoregressive fractionally integrated moving average (ARFIMA) model selection procedure were used to quantify 1/f noise. Measures from all four analyses were in reasonable agreement, with more ARFIMA (long-range) models selected at peak velocity in Experiment 1 and fewer selected at peak velocity in Experiment 2. There also was a nonsignificant trend where, at preferred speed, of those participants who showed 1/f noise, more tended to show 1/f noise at peak velocity, when planning and control would overlap most. This trend disappeared for fast movements, where planning and control would have less time to overlap. Summing short-range processes at different timescales can produce 1/f-like noise. As planning is a slower-moving process and control faster, present results suggest that, with enough time for both planning and control, 1/f noise in aiming may arise from a similar summation of processes. Potential limitations of time series length in the present task are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-319
Number of pages17
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2008


  • 1/f Noise
  • Control
  • Fractal
  • Long-range correlation
  • Planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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