Predictions of two views on single-joint motor control, namely programming of muscle force patterns and equilibrium-point control, were compared with the results of experiments with reproduction of movement distance and final location during fast unidirectional elbow flexions. Two groups of subjects were tested. The first group practiced movements over a fixed distance (36°), starting from seven different initial positions (distance group, DG). The second group practiced movements from the same seven initial positions to a fixed final location (location group, LG). Later, all the subjects were tested at the practiced task with their eyes closed, and then, unexpectedly for the subjects, they were tested at the other, unpracticed task. In both groups, the task to reproduce final position had lower indices of final position variability than the task to reproduce movement distance. Analysis of the linear regression lines between initial position and final position (or movement distance) also demonstrated a better (more accurate) performance during final position reproduction than during distance reproduction. The data are in a good correspondence with the predictions of the equilibrium-point hypothesis, but not with the predictions of the force-pattern control approach.
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