Anticipation is nothing special, if you keep in mind the original model of the reaction chain. You need only slight changes. The necessary changes include an internal model of future events and a special trigger for starting the chosen reaction. Furthermore, it is much better to look at it as a circular process that is continuously incorporating and processing information. The original model of the reaction chain had its advantages. It was easy to comprehend. Working with a process that consecutively evolves in certain steps is helpful. But, that’s just not enough.
Imagine that you are looking at your partner. He is right in front of you and it is his task to step forward. Now, it is your task to step back to maintain the distance. Try to apply the reaction chain model and you will see that your step is either a simple or a go-/no-go-reaction. In this example, you don’t have info about possible consequences if you react too early or late. Let’s say that there are no consequences, and it is not considered a fault if you delude yourself. This means that the stimulus identification can be skipped. You end up with a relatively fast simple reaction.
Comparison simple to go-/no-go-reaction
Please take a look at the following sketch. It includes the newly defined internal model, the stimulus detection and the stimulus identification phase.
Basically, it would have been better to show the circular process right from the start, but I reduced the level of details, since these topics are already very demanding. The circular process indicates that you are continuously doing all these steps. Thus, even though you look at that chart and follow the different steps, it still means that all these steps happen all the time in parallel. Hence, you are continuously scanning your environment and this circular process never stops. This kind of process adds quite some difficulties.
Applied to the forgoing example, you have already chosen your movement (stepping back = response execution; not listed in the sketch) and only scanned your partners movements (stimulus detection). You maintain your internal model by constantly detecting your partner’s moves. So, the circular process depicts the continuous repetition of detecting the stimulus and updating the internal model.
The original model of the reaction chain couldn’t capture these details. So, please make sure that you don’t use the reaction chain if the circular process is needed to clearly examine movements. There are quite a few effects that forbid the usage of the consecutively evolving reaction chain. The following blog entries will further specify the model. The circular process was just a start.