Generation of bimanual trajectories of disparate eccentricity: Levels of interference and spontaneous changes over practice

C. B. Walter, S. P. Swinnen, N. V. Dounskala

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8 Scopus citations


The authors examined intermanual interactions of 2 hands that were required to concurrently follow trajectories that differed in eccentricity. Ten healthy participants attempted to learn to trace 2 figures, a circle and an ellipse, with bilaterally isochronous (1:1) timing demands. Initial unimanual trials were followed by bilateral practice comprising 750 movement cycles. Two objectives were addressed: The authors' primary aim was to determine if kinematic interlimb interference is evident independent of spatial and temporal interference and to observe the potential practice-related changes in the nature of that interference. That test was afforded by participants' natural tendency to draw a circle with a relatively constant tangential velocity and an ellipse with a systematically varying velocity. A second aim was to observe the nature of spontaneous changes in the performance of each individual effector, and in the relationship between effectors, across practice. Those objectives were specifically addressed in a context in which augmented feedback was not available to direct the learners' attention to a particular feature of performance. The results suggested that interlimb assimilation of spatial features is the primary source of interference for that task and that apparent effects at the kinematic level are the secondary, indirect product of spatial coupling. Those results were found across blocks of practice. With respect to nondirected performance changes, substantially less improvement was evident in the performance of each individual effector than in the reduction of interlimb interference. Specifically, no practice-related changes in temporal variability or velocity bias, and minimal changes in trajectory smoothness, were evident in individual limbs. Conversely, significant reductions were observed in the variability of relative phase between limbs and in the magnitude of interlimb phase lag.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-195
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of motor behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002


  • Bimanual control
  • Motor learning
  • Systematic error

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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