Adaptive control is reversed between hands after left hemisphere stroke and lost following right hemisphere stroke

Rini Varghese, James Gordon, Robert L. Sainburg, Carolee J. Winstein, Nicolas Schweighofer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Human motor adaptability is of utmost utility after neurologic injury such as unilateral stroke. For successful adaptive control of movements, the nervous system must learn to correctly identify the source of a movement error and predictively compensate for this error. The current understanding is that in bimanual tasks, this process is flexible such that errors are assigned to, and compensated for, by the limb that is more likely to produce those errors. Here, we tested the flexibility of the error assignment process in right-handed chronic stroke survivors using a bimanual reaching task in which the hands jointly controlled a single cursor. We predicted that the nondominant left hand in neurotypical adults and the paretic hand in chronic stroke survivors will be more responsible for cursor errors and will compensate more within a trial and learn more from trial to trial. We found that in neurotypical adults, the nondominant left hand does compensate more than the right hand within a trial but learns less trial-to-trial. After a left hemisphere stroke, the paretic right hand compensates more than the nonparetic left hand within-trial but learns less trial-to-trial. After a right hemisphere stroke, the paretic left hand neither corrects more within-trial nor learns more trial-to-trial. Thus, adaptive control of visually guided bimanual reaching movements is reversed between hands after the left hemisphere stroke and lost following the right hemisphere stroke. These results indicate that responsibility assignment is not fully flexible but depends on a central mechanism that is lateralized to the right hemisphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2212726120
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 7 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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