How do participants adapt to temporal variation of preparatory foreperiods? For reaction times, specific sequential effects have been observed. Responses become slower when the foreperiod is shorter on the current than on the previous trial. If this effect is due to changes in motor activation, it should also be visible in force of responses and in EEG measures of motor preparation, the contingent negative variation (CNV) and the lateralized readiness potential (LRP). These hypotheses were tested in a two-choice reaction task, with targets occurring 500, 1500, or 2500 ms after an acoustic warning signal. The reaction time results showed the expected pattern and were accompanied by similar effects on a fronto-central CNV and the LRP. In contrast, the increase of response force with brief current foreperiods did not depend on previous foreperiods. Thus, EEG measures confirm that sequential effects on RT are at least partially due to changes in motor activation originating from previous trials. Effects found on response force may be related to general response readiness rather than activation of motor-hand areas, which may explain the absence of a sequential effect on force in the current experiment.
van der Lubbe, R. H. J., Los, S. A., Jaśkowski, P., & Verleger, R. (2004). Being prepared on time: on the importance of the previous foreperiod to current preparation, as reflected in speed, force and preparation-related brain potentials. Acta psychologica, 116(3), 245-262. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2004.03.003