Human physical interactions can be intrapersonal, e.g., manipulating an object bimanually, or interpersonal, e.g., transporting an object with another person. In both cases, one or two agents are required to coordinate their limbs to attain the task goal. We investigated the physical coordination of two hands during an object-balancing task performed either bimanually by one agent or jointly by two agents. The task consisted of a series of static (holding) and dynamic (moving) phases, initiated by auditory cues. We found that task performance of dyads was not affected by different pairings of dominant and non-dominant hands. However, the spatial configuration of the two agents (side-by-side vs. face-to-face) appears to play an important role, such that dyads performed better side-by-side than face-to-face. Furthermore, we demonstrated that only individuals with worse solo performance can benefit from interpersonal coordination through physical couplings, whereas the better individuals do not. The present work extends ongoing investigations on human-human physical interactions by providing new insights about factors that influence dyadic performance. Our findings could potentially impact several areas, including robotic-assisted therapies, sensorimotor learning and human performance augmentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number533
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
StatePublished - Nov 7 2017


  • Coordination
  • Interpersonal action
  • Object manipulation
  • Physical interaction
  • Social interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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