Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Catherine Reed

Reader 2

Jenna Monroy

Rights Information

© 2024 Archa Dileep


Motor control is linked to the ability to anticipate upcoming workload, aiding in the strategic planning of the exerted force required for each movement. However, individuals with movement disorders encounter difficulties in anticipating movements, posing challenges during motor execution. Introducing cognitive load, like a digit span task affecting working memory, can further impact motor planning and execution. This study aims to investigate how anticipating motor programming, encompassing typical and atypical movements, under different cognitive loads, affects movement planning, initiation, execution, and subsequent kinematics. Participants (n=20, ages 19-22) completed three blocks of trials involving a reach and grasp task with varying anticipation of grasp frequency for both typical (thumb up) and atypical (thumb down) grasps. Utilizing a 3D Motion Capture System with reflective markers placed on anatomical landmarks, kinematic measures including movement initiation time (IT), time to wrist rotation (WR), total movement time (MT), and time to peak velocity (PVT) were evaluated. The kinematic data revealed that anticipated grasp types led to faster IT, WR, and MT, indicative of heightened efficiency in motor planning and execution. The interaction between cognitive load and grasp type for MT and PVT suggests a relative acceleration of the atypical grasp, possibly indicating a compensatory strategy of increasing power output to hand muscles in order to meet cognitive demands. The absence of a significant interaction between cognitive load and anticipation implies that anticipation may be more subcortically mediated and not heavily reliant on working memory resources.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.