Archives of oral biology vol:37 issue:9 pages:677-83
The anatomical position of the mandible means that direct visual feedback is not possible. To clarify the role of visual information, several jaw- and finger-positioning tasks were designed, both in a 'free-movement' and an 'isolated' (arm or head fixed) state, with or without a visual feedback display of the target position. The subjects had to position the mandible or the index finger of the preferred hand on to a movable metal bar and to maintain a defined position coinciding with the target level provided on an oscilloscope screen. The position signal was tape recorded and computer analysed off-line. Digital filtering differentiated between the drift and the oscillations around the target (root mean square). The results demonstrated a lack of precision in the free-movement, finger-positioning task after withdrawal of visual feedback. For jaw opening and closing muscles, position control was less impaired when a visual feedback display was abolished. It was suggested that the efficiency of jaw positioning is not primarily determined by visual feedback.