Send to

Choose Destination
Exp Brain Res. 2009 Feb;193(2):239-54. doi: 10.1007/s00221-008-1616-1. Epub 2008 Nov 4.

The organization of intralimb and interlimb synergies in response to different joint dynamics.

Author information

Department of Physical Therapy, College of Health Professions, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19140, USA.


We sought to understand differences in joint coordination between the dominant and nondominant arms when performing repetitive tasks. The uncontrolled manifold approach was used to decompose the variability of joint motions into components that reflect the use of motor redundancy or movement error. First, we hypothesized that coordination of the dominant arm would demonstrate greater use of motor redundancy to compensate for interaction forces than would coordination of the nondominant arm. Secondly, we hypothesized that when interjoint dynamics were more complex, control of the interlimb relationship would remain stable despite differences in control of individual hand paths. Healthy adults performed bimanual tracing of two orientations of ellipses that resulted in different magnitudes of elbow interaction forces. For the dominant arm, joint variance leading to hand path error was the same for both ellipsis orientations, whereas joint variance reflecting the use of motor redundancy increased when interaction moment was highest. For the nondominant arm, more joint error variance was found when interaction moment was highest, whereas motor redundancy did not differ across orientations. There was no apparent difference in interjoint dynamics between the two arms. Thus, greater skill exhibited by the dominant arm may be related to its ability to utilize motor redundancy to compensate for the effect of interaction forces. However, despite the greater error associated with control of the nondominant hand, control of the interlimb relationship remained stable when the interaction moment increased. This suggests separate levels of control for inter- versus intra-limb coordination in this bimanual task.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center