Hemispheric specialization for movement control produces dissociable differences in online corrections after stroke

Sydney Y. Schaefer, Pratik K. Mutha, Kathleen Y. Haaland, Robert L. Sainburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


In this study, we examine whether corrections made during an ongoing movement are differentially affected by left hemisphere damage (LHD) and right hemisphere damage (RHD). Our hypothesis of motor lateralization proposes that control mechanisms specialized to the right hemisphere rely largely on online processes, while the left hemisphere primarily utilizes predictive mechanisms to specify optimal coordination patterns. We therefore predict that RHD, but not LHD, should impair online correction when task goals are unexpectedly changed. Fourteen stroke subjects (7 LHD, 7 RHD) and 14 healthy controls reached to 1 of the 3 targets that unexpectedly "jumped" during movement onset. RHD subjects showed a considerable delay in initiating the corrective response relative to controls and LHD subjects. However, both stroke groups made large final position errors on the target jump trials. Position deficits following LHD were associated with poor intersegmental coordination, while RHD subjects had difficulty terminating their movements appropriately. These findings confirm that RHD, but not LHD, produces a deficit in the timing of online corrections and also indicate that both stroke groups show position deficits that are related to the specialization of their damaged hemisphere. Further research is needed to identify specific neural circuits within each hemisphere critical for these processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1407-1419
Number of pages13
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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