The end-state comfort (ESC) effect represents an efficiency constraint in anticipatory motor planning. Although young adults usually avoid uncomfortable postures at the end of goal-directed movements, newer studies revealed that children's sensitivity for ESC is not fully in place before the age of 10 years. In this matter, it is surprising that nothing is known about the development of the ESC effect at older ages. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to examine the development of anticipatory motor planning in older adults.
In 2 experiments, a total of 119 older adults (from 60 to 80 years old) performed in an unimanual (Experiment 1) and a bimanual version (Experiment 2) of the bar-transport-task.
Across both experiments, the propensity of the ESC effect was significantly lower in the old-old (71-80 years old) as compared with the young-old (60-70 years old) participants.
Although the performance of the young-old participants in the unimanual and bimanual task was comparable to what has been reported for young adults, the performance of the old-old participants was rath ... mehrer similar to the behavior of children younger than 10 years. Thus, for the first time, evidence is provided for the decrease of the ESC effect in older adults.