Finding the Sense in Movement! – Overcoming forcefields and assessing limb sensation with reaching

Although you might not know it, you have a hidden 6th sense which gives you the ability to detect where your limbs are as they move in the space around you. Not convinced? Try shutting your eyes and touching your finger to the end of your nose. In spite of not actually seeing your hand, you were still (hopefully!) able to touch it to your nose, thanks to this awareness of where your hand was as it moved towards your face.

This sensation is called proprioception and it is incredibly important for helping us control simple and coordinated movements. In our lab, we are able to measure the quality of this sensation by asking participants to judge the position of their unseen hand following a simple reaching movement towards a target.

Recently, we have been able to document how this sensation declines across the lifespan, but the way in which these deficits impact our ability to control movements is still poorly understood. This research aims to investigate this further by using a test of movement control that involves making reaching movements to overcome a novel “forcefield” and hit a visually presented target.

If this sounds like something you might be interested in and you meet the basic requirements below….

  • Male or female, right-hand dominant, over the age of 65
  • Have normal or corrected to normal (glasses or contact lenses) vision
  • Have no history of carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis or similar movement pains/limitations in the arm, wrist or fingers
  • No neurological history (please enquire if unsure what is excluded here)
  • No history of motor impairments of abnormalities of the upper limb (arm or hand)

…then please get in touch with Nick Kitchen via email ( or phone (0121 4142868) for more information.

Participation will require a single 1hr 45min visit to the Hills Building, School of Psychology with no exhaustive or invasive procedures. You will be remunerated for your participation and making an inquiry does not commit you to taking part!

PLEASE NOTEIf you have recently taken part in a similar sounding experiment which involves overcoming forcefields during reaching then please note this when making contact as this may exclude you from participation

Read the Participant Information Sheet