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Modeling the speed-accuracy tradeoff using the tools of information theory

Abstract : Fitts’ law, which relates movement time MTin a pointing task to the target’s dimensions D and Wis usually expressed by mimicking Shannon’s capacityformula MT = a + b log 2 (1 + D/W). Yet, the currentlyreceived analysis is incomplete and unsatisfactory: itstems from a vague analogy and there is no explicitcommunication model for pointing.I first develop a transmission model for pointing taskswhere the index of difficulty ID = log 2 (1 + D/W) isthe expression of both a source entropy and a chan-nel capacity, thereby reconciling Shannon’s informa-tion theory with Fitts’ law. This model is then levera-ged to analyze pointing data gathered from controlledexperiments but also from field studies.I then develop a second model which builds on thevariability of human movements and accounts for thetremendous diversity displayed by movement control:with of without feedback, intermittent or continuous.From a chronometry of the positional variance, eva-luated from a set of trajectories, it is observed thatmovement can be separated into two phases: a firstwhere the variance increases over time and wheremost of the distance to the target is covered, follo-wed by a second phase where the variance decreasesuntil it satisfies accuracy constraints. During this se-cond phase, the problem of aiming can be reduced toa Shannon-like communication problem where infor-mation is transmitted from a “source” (variance at theend of the first phase), to a “destination” (the limb ex-tremity) over a “channel” perturbed by Gaussian noisewith a feedback link. I show that the optimal solution tothis transmission problem amounts to a scheme firstsuggested by Elias. I show that the variance can de-crease at best exponentially during the second phase,and that this result induces Fitts’ law.
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Julien Gori. Modeling the speed-accuracy tradeoff using the tools of information theory. Human-Computer Interaction [cs.HC]. Université Paris-Saclay, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018SACLT022⟩. ⟨tel-02005752⟩