Unintentional force drifts across the human fingers: implications for the neural control of finger tasks

Valters Abolins, Mark L. Latash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

We explored the unintentional force drift across the four fingers of the dominant hand during accurate force production in isometric conditions caused by turning the visual feedback on force off. Our hypotheses were that the Index finger would show smallest drifts and best ability to eliminate the drifts with knowledge of performance in previous trials. Young healthy subjects produced force at 20% of the maximal force level by one finger at a time. There was no significant difference among the fingers in the root mean square error of force during performance with visual feedback. Turning visual feedback off caused force drift to lower magnitudes. The magnitude of force drift was the largest during tasks performed by the Index finger. After each block of twelve trials, the subjects were given feedback on the drift magnitude in that block and used it to correct performance in future trials. There was a total of six blocks. The magnitude of drift correction between consecutive blocks correlated with the magnitude of drift in the earlier block only after the second and fourth blocks. The Index finger failed to improve its performance more than other fingers and demonstrated significant residual drifts to lower force magnitudes in the sixth block of trials. These findings falsified both our hypotheses. Taken together with earlier studies showing advantage of the Index finger across a variety of tasks that require quick and accurate changes in performance, our results suggest that effector specialization along the stability-agility continuum is not limited to the phenomenon of cortical arm/hand dominance but can also be seen across fingers of a hand controlled by the same hemisphere, possibly reflecting the differences in the finger role in prehensile tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)751-761
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Volume240
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience

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