Characteristics of finger force production during one- and two-hand tasks

S. Li, F. Danion, M. L. Latash, Z. M. Li, V. M. Zatsiorsky

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36 Scopus citations


Relations among finger forces were studied during one-hand and two-hand isometric maximal force production tasks in right- and left-handers. We particularly focused on the phenomena of force deficit during one-hand multi-finger tasks and of bilateral force deficit during two-hand tasks. Ten healthy subjects (five of them left-handed) performed maximal voluntary force production tasks with different finger combinations involving fingers of one of the hands or of both hands together. In one-hand tasks, finger enslaving (forces produced by fingers that were not instructed to produce force) was larger in the dominant hand, while force deficit (drop in individual finger peak force during multi-finger tasks) showed no differences between the hands. An additional drop in finger forces was seen in two-hand tests (bilateral deficit). The magnitude of the bilateral deficit for a hand was larger for tasks involving fewer fingers within the hand and more fingers in the other hand, with a ceiling effect. Smaller bilateral deficit was seen in tasks involving symmetrical finger combinations. In two-hand tasks that could potentially lead to the generation of large total moments in the frontal plane, the hand that was expected to generate larger moments showed larger bilateral deficit, so that the magnitude of the total moment was reduced. These observations suggest that force deficit within a hand and bilateral deficit have different origins but their effects are combined at a certain level of the multi-finger control hierarchy. Bilateral deficit may display task dependence reflecting, in particular, the principle of minimization of secondary moments. A double-representation, mirror-image hypothesis is suggested to provide a neurophysiological basis for the observed patterns of bilateral deficit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)897-923
Number of pages27
JournalHuman Movement Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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