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Curr Biol. 2007 Oct 9;17(19):1675-9. Epub 2007 Sep 27.

Optimal task-dependent changes of bimanual feedback control and adaptation.

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Wolfson Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, School of Psychology, University of Wales, Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 2AS, United Kingdom.


The control and adaptation of bimanual movements is often considered to be a function of a fixed set of mechanisms [1, 2]. Here, I show that both feedback control and adaptation change optimally with task goals. Participants reached with two hands to two separate spatial targets (two-cursor condition) or used the same bimanual movements to move a cursor presented at the spatial average location of the two hands to a single target (one-cursor condition). A force field was randomly applied to one of the hands. In the two-cursor condition, online corrections occurred only on the perturbed hand, whereas the other movement was controlled independently. In the one-cursor condition, online correction could be detected on both hands as early as 190 ms after the start. These changes can be shown to be optimal in respect to a simple task-dependent cost function [3]. Adaptation, the influence of a perturbation onto the next movement, also depended on task goals. In the two-cursor condition, only the perturbed hand adapted to a force perturbation [2], whereas in the one-cursor condition, both hands adapted. These findings demonstrate that the central nervous system changes bimanual feedback control and adaptation optimally according to the current task requirements.

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