The speed and accuracy of movement depend on several factors that have been previously identified including target size and movement amplitude. According to Fitts' Law these variables comprise an Index of Difficulty that is directly related to the movement time. This principle of human performance has been studied extensively over a wide array of settings and contexts. The objective of this thesis was to investigate human movement time for tasks requiring precision placement of weighted objects, a task frequently encountered in industrial and occupational settings. Specifically, this thesis evaluated the effects of object weight, complexity of movement, and handedness on movement time. Complex movement in three dimensions and use of the dominant hand was found to significantly decrease movement time. It was also found that as probe weight increased, movement time increased in a logarithmic pattern. Fitts' Law in its original form was found to be an accurate predictor of overall movement time for the data obtained in this study. However, Fitts' original equations were improved by incorporating a term that accounted for the weight of the probe. The theoretical and practical implications of these results are discussed.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Human mechanics; Weight (Physics); Kinesiology; Human engineering; Left- and right-handedness

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Industrial and Systems Engineering (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Industrial and Systems Engineering (KGCOE)


Matthew Marshall

Advisor/Committee Member

Jacqueline Mozrall


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at QP303 .H34 2004


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