Hand dominance and multi-finger synergies

Wei Zhang, Robert L. Sainburg, Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky, Mark Latash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Recent studies of arm movement reaching to a target have provided support for the Dynamic Dominance model of handedness, which proposes that each hemisphere/limb system is specialized for controlling different features of performance: The dominant system for control of the trajectory, and the nondominant system for control of the steady state final position. We now examine a more general form of this hypothesis by investigating differences between the right and left hands of right-handed persons in their ability to stabilize the combined action of a set of fingers. The subjects produced very quick pulses and steps of force from a low background force level while pressing with four fingers of one hand. An index of force stabilizing synergy showed a strong multi-finger synergy during steady-state force production followed by a small anticipatory drop in the index prior to the force increase. Hand differences emerged during the force increase: The left (non-dominant) hand showed a significantly larger drop in the synergy index. While our findings support the idea that the dominant system is specialized for stabilizing quick changes in performance variables, we failed to support a nondominant specialization for stabilizing steady-state isometric force. This may be a ceiling effect due to the simplicity of the task for either hand, or it might indicate that this aspect of the dynamic dominance hypothesis does not generalize to isometric conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-204
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 6 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)


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