Human Motor Behavior: An Introduction

By J. A. Scott Kelso | Go to book overview
Save to active project

body is capable ( Turvey, 1977), one would have a difficult time explaining how countless numbers of motor plans are stored in the central nervous system. Many critics of Adams' theory have suggested that movement must be regulated in a much more parsimonious manner. The answer to this problem may require one to view the items stored as rules for generating the programs instead of storing the programs themselves ( Boylls, 1980) or, as is suggested by Schmidt ( 1976), a generalized motor program for response classes may exist.

Perhaps the major reason the area has turned away from Adams' theory is the difficulty of its application in a broader context. As a theory of motor behavior, it would be hard pressed to explain very complex behaviors such as motor equivalence. Motor equivalence refers to the situation in which similar endproducts are achieved even though different muscle groups have responded: for example, the preservation of individual style whether one writes upon paper or chalkboard ( Greene, 1972; Merton, 1972), or the ability of a smoker to speak intelligibly with a pipe in his mouth ( MacNeilge, 1970). In this context, the endpoint appears unrelated to the movement producing it, clearly a variability not foreseen in Adams' theory. Adams' theory describes very well a limited portion of human motor behavior but is an inadequate explanation for a far greater percentage. Although this condition represents the source of both its strength and its weakness, it accounts for the demise of the theory more than any other reason.


Appreciation and a sincere thanks is extended to Virginia Diggles for her background work and editorial assistance in preparing this chapter.


Adams J. A. "A closed-loop theory of motor learning". Journal of Motor Behavior, 1971, 3, 111- 149.

Adams J. A. "Issues for a closed-loop theory of motor learning". In G. E. Stelmach (Ed.), Motor control: Issues and trends. New York: Academic Press, 1976.

Adams J. A., & Creamer L. R. "Proprioception variables as determiners of anticipatory timing behavior". Human Factors, 1962, 4, 217-222.

Adams J. A., & Goetz E. T. "Feedback and practice as variables in error detection and correction". Journal of Motor Behavior, 1973, 5, 217-224.

Adams J. A., Goetz E. T., & Marshall P. H. "Response feedback in motor learning". Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1972, 92, 391-397.

Adams J. A., Gopher D., & Lintern G. "Effects of visual and proprioceptive feedback on motor learning". Journal of Motor Behavior, 1977, 9, 11-12.

Anokhin P. K. Cybernetics and the integrating activity of the brain. In M. Cole & I. Maltzman (Eds.), A handbook of contemporary Soviet psychology. New York: Basic Books, 1969.

Bernstein A. The coordination and regulation of movement. New York: Pergamon Press, 1967.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Human Motor Behavior: An Introduction
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 308

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?