Under visual guidance, subjects reached for and manipulated an object that variedin weight and surface texture (slipperiness). The manipulatory action was either grasping, lifting, or posting in a slot. The
task was constrained or unconstrained with respect to speed, grasp pattern, and contact force. Initiation time (pre-reach), movement time (reach), and post-contact errors were measured, to examine planning
for task performance at three points in time. Results indicate that in the constrained task, the manipulatory action was planned during the initiation time, but planning for object parameters was deferred
until the reach interval. With relaxed task constraints, initiation times increased,and texture and manipulatory action had independent effects on premovement planning. Errors were affected interactively
by all variables. The results suggest a planning process that unfolds over time, incorporating in turn the manipulatory action, object texture, and object weight. This unfolding accommodates variables proximate
to the time where they will affect physical action.