Skillful manipulation of objects often requires the spatio-temporal coordination of both hands and, at the same time, the compensation of environmental forces. In bimanual coordination, movements of the two hands may be coupled because each hand needs to compensate the forces generated by the other hand or by an object operated by both hands (dynamic coupling), or because the two hands share the same workspace (spatial coupling). We examined how spatial coupling influences bimanual coordination, by looking at the adaptation of velocity-dependent force fields during a task in which the two hands simultaneously perform center-out reaching movements with the same initial position and the same targets, equally spaced on a circle. Subjects were randomly allocated to two groups, which differed in terms of the force fields they were exposed to: in one group (CW–CW), force fields had equal clockwise orientations in both hands; in the other group (CCW–CW), they had opposite orientations. In both groups, in randomly selected trials (catch trials) of the adaptation phase, the force fields were unexpectedly removed. Adaptation was quantified in terms of the changes of directional error for both hand trajectories. Bimanual coordination was quantified in terms of inter-limb longitudinal and sideways displacements, in force field and in catch trials. Experimental results indicate that both arms could simultaneously adapt to the two force fields. However, in the CCW–CW group, adaptation was incomplete for the movements from the central position to the more distant targets with respect to the body. In addition, in this group the left hand systematically leads in the movements toward targets on the left of the starting position, whereas the right hand leads in the movements to targets on the right. We show that these effects are due to a gradual sideways shift of the hands, so that during movements the left hand tends to consistently remain at the left of the right hand. These findings can be interpreted in terms of a neural mechanism of bimanual coordination/interaction, triggered by the force field adaptation process but largely independent from it, which opposes movements that may lead to the crossing of the hands. In conclusion, our results reveal a concurrent interplay of two task-dependent modules of motor-cognitive processing: an adaptive control module and a ‘protective’ module that opposes potentially ‘dangerous’ (or cognitively costly) bimanual interactions.
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|Titolo:||Inter-limb interference during bimanual adaptation to dynamic environments|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2010|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01.01 - Articolo su rivista|