Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




James Lyons




The Illusion of Control (Langer, 1975) refers to individuals' misperceptions of control in chance situations. Little, however, is known regarding how illusions of control influence motor control and action planning. The purpose of this experiment was to examine the strength of the illusory control effect and, whether the strength of this effect influenced the degree to which traditional stimulus-response (S-R) associations were learned. Participants were required to make a series of virtual dice rolls by pressing on a force transducer. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups: congruent, incongruent, and control. Groups differed on the basis ofthe S-R pairs presented. The congruent group was presented with hypothetically congruous S-R pairs (high force generation = high dice outcomes and vice versa) whereas the incongruent group was presented with the reversed S-R pairs. The control group was presented with arbitrary dice outcomes, independent of force generation. The primary measures of interest were Peak Force and Impulse. When individuals were presented with incongruous S-R pairings, or random dice outcomes, no differences were found in the maximum force exerted, regardless of the outcome requested (e.g. high or low). However, when congruous S-R pairs were presented, force generation was found to be higher when a high number was requested, while the opposite was observed when a low outcome was assigned. Results suggest that participants may use outcome dependent strategies when generating virtual dice rolls.

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Kinesiology Commons