Visual information gain and task asymmetry interact in bimanual force coordination and control

Xiaogang Hu, Karl M. Newell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


This study examined the question of whether and how the influence of visual information on force coordination patterns is dependent on the settings of a task asymmetry constraint. In a bimanual isometric force experiment, the task asymmetry was manipulated via imposing different coefficients on the index finger forces such that the weighted sum of the finger forces matched the target force. The environmental constraint was quantified by the visual performance error and was manipulated through the change of visual gain (number of pixels on the screen representing the unit of force). The constraint arising from the individual was quantified by the bilateral coupling effect (i.e., symmetric force production) between hands. The results revealed improved performance in terms of lower variability and performance error and more complex total force structure with higher visual gain. The influence of visual gain on the force coordination pattern, however, was found to be dependent on the task coefficients imposed on the finger forces. Namely, the force sharing between hands became more symmetric with high visual gain only when the right finger force had the higher coefficient, and an error-compensatory strategy was evident with high gain only when symmetric coefficients were imposed on the two fingers. The findings support the proposition that the motor coordination and control patterns are organized by the interactive influence of different categories of constraints where the functional influence of the information provided is dependent on the motor output.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-504
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


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