Send to

Choose Destination
Exp Brain Res. 2013 Sep;229(4):533-43. doi: 10.1007/s00221-013-3615-0. Epub 2013 Jun 29.

Outsider interference: no role for motor lateralization in determining the strength of avoidance responses during reaching.

Author information

Experimental Psychology, Helmholtz Institute, Utrecht University, Heidelberglaan 2, 3584 CS Utrecht, The Netherlands.


When reaches are performed toward target objects, the presence of other non-target objects influences kinematic parameters of the reach. A typical observation has been that non-targets positioned ipsilaterally to the acting limb interfere more with the trajectory of the hand than contralateral non-targets. Here, we investigate whether this effect is mediated by motor lateralization or by the relative positioning of the objects with reference to the acting limb. Participants were asked to perform reaches toward physical target objects with their preferred or non-preferred hands while physical non-targets were present in different possible positions in the workspace. We tested both left-handers and right-handers. Our results show that a participant's handedness does not influence reaching behavior in an obstacle avoidance paradigm. Furthermore, no statistically significant differences between the use of the preferred and non-preferred hand were observed on the kinematic parameters of the reaches. We found evidence that non-targets positioned on the outside of the reaching limb influenced the reaching behavior more strongly than non-targets on the inside. Moreover, the type of movement also appeared to play a role, as reaches that crossed the workspace had a stronger effect on avoidance behavior than reaches that were 'uncrossed.' We interpret these results as support for the hypothesis that the avoidance response is determined by keeping a preferred distance between the acting limb in all stages of its reach toward the target and the non-target position. This process is not biased by hand dominance or the hand preference of the actor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center