Lehrstuhl für Psychologie III

Movement trajectory analysis

Robert Wirth, Anna Foerster, Roland Pfister


The analysis of movement trajectories has become a fruitful experimental approach in psychology in the recent years. By not only analyzing the final output of a sequence of cognitive operations (as is done for example when measuring response times), but by analyzing temporal and spatial parameters that reflect specific phases of this processing sequence, we get a more fine-grained picture of the cognitive operations that are involved in our experimental tasks. From our task setup and the analysis of participants’ movements, we can infer their intentions, their motivation, and even their affective state.

In this project, we aim to refine current task setups and test how aspects of the experimental environment affect participants’ movement responses. By developing versions not only for laboratory computers, but also for tablets and other portable devices, we provide universal tools that make psychological research a less stationary affair and thereby enable a broad spectrum of possibilities for empirical work.

This project is supported by the Universitätsbund Würzburg.

For further details, see:


Pfister, R., Janczyk, M.,  Wirth, R., Dignath, D., & Kunde, W. (2014). Thinking with portals: Revisiting kinematic cues to intention. Cogniton, 133(2), 464-473. 


Wirth, R., Pfister, R., Janczyk, M., & Kunde, W. (2015). Through the portal: Effect anticipation in the central bottleneck. Acta Psychologica, 160, 141-151. 


Pfister, R., Wirth, R., Schwarz, K. A., Steinhauser, M., & Kunde, W. (2016). Burdens of non-conformity: Motor execution reveals cognitive conflict during deliberate rule violations. Cognition, 147, 93-99.


Wirth, R., Pfister, R., Foerster, A., Huestegge, L., & Kunde, W. (2016). Pushing the rules: Effects and aftereffects of deliberate rule violations. Psychological Research, 80(5), 838-852.


Wirth, R., Pfister, R., & Kunde, W. (2016). Asymmetric transfer effects between cognitive and affective task disturbances. Cognition & Emotion, 30(3), 399-416.


Foerster, A., Wirth, R., Herbort, O., Kunde, W., & Pfister, R. (2017). Lying upside-down: Alibis reverse cognitive burdens of dishonesty. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 23(3), 301-319.


Jusyte, A., Pfister, R., Mayer, S. V., Schwarz, K. A., Wirth, R., Kunde, W., & Schöneberg, M. (2017). Smooth criminal: Convicted rule-breakers show reduced cognitive conflict during deliberate rule violations. Psychological Research, 81(5), 939-946.


Kunde, W., Schmidts, C., Wirth, R., & Herbort, O. (2017). Action effects are coded as transitions from current to future stimulation: Evidence from compatibility effects in tracking. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 43, 477-486.


Wirth, R.*, Dignath,D.*, Pfister, R., Kunde, W., & Eder, A. B. (2016). Attracted by rewards: Disentangling the motivational influence of rewarding and punishing targets and distractors. Motivation Science, 2(3), 143-156.


Wirth, R., Foerster, A., Herbort, O., Kunde, W., & Pfister, R. (2018). This is how to be a rule breaker. Advances in Cognitive Psychology, 14(1), 21-37.


(last updated in May, 2018)