IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The scaling behavior of hand motions reveals self-organization during an executive function task


  • Anastas, Jason R.
  • Stephen, Damian G.
  • Dixon, James A.


Recent approaches to cognition explain cognitive phenomena in terms of interaction-dominant dynamics. In the current experiment, we extend this approach to executive function, a construct used to describe flexible, goal-oriented behavior. Participants were asked to perform a widely used executive function task, card sorting, under two conditions. In one condition, participants were given a rule with which to sort the cards. In the other condition, participants had to induce the rule from experimenter feedback. The motion of each participant’s hand was tracked during the sorting task. Detrended fluctuation analysis was performed on the inter-point time series using a windowing strategy to capture changes over each trial. For participants in the induction condition, the Hurst exponent sharply increased and then decreased. The Hurst exponents for the explicit condition did not show this pattern. Our results suggest that executive function may be understood in terms of changes in stability that arise from interaction-dominant dynamics.

Suggested Citation

  • Anastas, Jason R. & Stephen, Damian G. & Dixon, James A., 2011. "The scaling behavior of hand motions reveals self-organization during an executive function task," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 390(9), pages 1539-1545.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:phsmap:v:390:y:2011:i:9:p:1539-1545
    DOI: 10.1016/j.physa.2010.11.038

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only. Journal offers the option of making the article available online on Science direct for a fee of $3,000

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Almurad, Zainy M.H. & Delignières, Didier, 2016. "Evenly spacing in Detrended Fluctuation Analysis," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 451(C), pages 63-69.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:phsmap:v:390:y:2011:i:9:p:1539-1545. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Haili He). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.