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J Mot Behav. 1984 Sep;16(3):235-54.

The timing of natural prehension movements.

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Laboratoire de Neuropsychologie Expérimentale, INSERM, Unite 94, 16, Avenue du Doyen Lépine, 69500 Bron, France.


Prehension movements were studied by film in 7 adult subjects. Transportation of the hand to the target-object location had features very similar to any aiming arm movement, that is, it involved a fast-velocity initial phase and a low-velocity final phase. The peak velocity of the movement was highly correlated with its amplitude, although total movement duration tended to remain invariant when target distance was changed. The low-velocity phase consistently began after about 75% of movement time had elapsed. This ration was maintained for different movement amplitudes. Formation of the finger grip occurred during hand transportation. Fingers were first stretched and then began to close in anticipation to contact with the object. The onset of the closure phase was highly correlated to the beginning of the low velocity phase of transportation. This pattern for both transportation and finger grip formation was maintained in conditions whether visual feedback from the moving limb was present or not. Implications of these findings for the central programming of multisegmental movements are discussed.

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