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J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 1992 Aug;18(3):645-68.

Symmetry breaking dynamics of human multilimb coordination.

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Center for Complex Systems, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton 33431.


The dynamics of pattern formation and change are studied in a complex multicomponent system, specifically the arms and legs of human Ss. Among the novel features observed are differential stability of coordinative modes produced by limbs moving in the same versus different directions (Experiment 1); transitions between coordinative modes preceded by a slow drift in relative phase (Experiments 1 and 2); bifurcations or phase transitions from 1 four-limb pattern to another (Experiment 2); and spontaneous emergence of non-1:1-frequency- and phase-locked patterns, in addition to periods of relative coordination (Experiment 3). All observed relative phasing patterns and their dynamics (stability, loss of stability, intermittency) are shown to arise from the same underlying nonlinear dynamical structure, an important feature of which is broken symmetry.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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