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PLOS ONE  2011 

Testing Multiple Coordination Constraints with a Novel Bimanual Visuomotor Task

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0023619

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Abstract:

The acquisition of a new bimanual skill depends on several motor coordination constraints. To date, coordination constraints have often been tested relatively independently of one another, particularly with respect to isofrequency and multifrequency rhythms. Here, we used a new paradigm to test the interaction of multiple coordination constraints. Coordination constraints that were tested included temporal complexity, directionality, muscle grouping, and hand dominance. Twenty-two healthy young adults performed a bimanual dial rotation task that required left and right hand coordination to track a moving target on a computer monitor. Two groups were compared, either with or without four days of practice with augmented visual feedback. Four directional patterns were tested such that both hands moved either rightward (clockwise), leftward (counterclockwise), inward or outward relative to each other. Seven frequency ratios (3:1, 2:1, 3:2, 1:1, 2:3. 1:2, 1:3) between the left and right hand were introduced. As expected, isofrequency patterns (1:1) were performed more successfully than multifrequency patterns (non 1:1). In addition, performance was more accurate when participants were required to move faster with the dominant right hand (1:3, 1:2 and 2:3) than with the non-dominant left hand (3:1, 2:1, 3:2). Interestingly, performance deteriorated as the relative angular velocity between the two hands increased, regardless of whether the required frequency ratio was an integer or non-integer. This contrasted with previous finger tapping research where the integer ratios generally led to less error than the non-integer ratios. We suggest that this is due to the different movement topologies that are required of each paradigm. Overall, we found that this visuomotor task was useful for testing the interaction of multiple coordination constraints as well as the release from these constraints with practice in the presence of augmented visual feedback.

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