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Exp Brain Res. 2011 Nov;215(2):89-100. doi: 10.1007/s00221-011-2874-x. Epub 2011 Sep 28.

The stability of rhythmic movement coordination depends on relative speed: the Bingham model supported.

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Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, 1101 East Tenth Street (A326), Bloomington, IN, 47405-7007, USA.


Following many studies showing that the coupling in bimanual coordination can be perceptual, Bingham (Ecol Psychol in 16:45-53, 2001; 2004a, b) proposed a dynamical model of such movements. The model contains three key hypotheses: (1) Being able to produce stable coordinative movements is a function of the ability to perceive relative phase, (2) the information to perceive relative phase is relative direction of motion, and (3) the ability to resolve this information is conditioned by relative speed. The first two hypotheses have been well supported (Wilson and Bingham in Percept Psychophys 70:465-476, 2008; Wilson et al. in J Exp Psychol Hum 36:1508-1514, 2010a), but the third was not supported when tested by de Rugy et al. (Exp Brain Res 184:269-273, 2008) using a visual coordination task that required simultaneous control of both the amplitude and relative phase of movement. The purposes of the current study were to replicate this task with additional measures and to modify the original model to apply it to the new task. To do this, we conducted two experiments. First, we tested the ability to produce 180° visual coordination at different frequencies to determine frequencies suitable for testing in the de Rugy et al. task. Second, we tested the de Rugy et al. task but included additional measures that yielded results different from those reported by de Rugy et al. These results were used to elaborate the original model. First, one of the phase-driven oscillators was replaced with a harmonic oscillator, so the resulting coupling was unidirectional. This change resulted in the model producing less stable 180° coordination behavior beyond 1.5 Hz consistent with the results obtained in Experiment 1. Next, amplitude control and phase correction elements were added to the model. With these changes, the model reproduced behaviors observed in Experiment 2. The central finding was that the stability of rhythmic movement coordination does depend on relative speed and, thus, all three of the hypotheses contained in the original Bingham model are supported.

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