Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 108, Issue 2, pp 321–327 | Cite as

Intermanual transfer of proximal and distal motor engrams in humans

  • Gregor Thut
  • Norman D. Cook
  • Marianne Regard
  • Klaus L. Leenders
  • Ulrike Halsband
  • Theodor Landis
Research Article


We studied intermanual motor transfer for right-to-left or left-to-right direction of transfer between either proximal or distal upper extremity muscle groups. The influence of previously acquired motor engrams (original learning, OL) on learning efficiency of the contralateral side (transfer learning, TL) was examined in 26 right-handed healthy subjects. The task consisted of the drawing of meaningless figures. During TL, OL figures had to be reproduced as vertical mirror reversals. Data revealed a benefit for right-to-left but not left-to-right direction of transfer for time to complete a figure as well as a left-to-right transfer benefit for spatial motor precision. Furthermore, a benefit for intermanual transfer of training between proximal but not distal muscle groups was found when movement time to complete a figure was evaluated. Of special interest was the observation of a disadvantage due to prior contralateral learning for performance at right distal effectors. The asymmetrical transfer benefits with respect to side are in line with previous findings and support the proficiency model and the cross-actiation model. Results further showed that intermanual transfer of training might differ with respect to muscle group involvement and suggest that, although primarily facilitating, previous opposite hand training may lead to inhibitory influences on subsequent contralateral reproduction.

Key words

Motor learning Intermanual transfer of training Distal and proximal movements Interhemispheric interactions 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gregor Thut
    • 1
    • 2
  • Norman D. Cook
    • 3
  • Marianne Regard
    • 1
  • Klaus L. Leenders
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ulrike Halsband
    • 4
  • Theodor Landis
    • 5
  1. 1.Neurology Department, Neuropsychological UnitUniversity Hospital ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Paul Scherrer InstituteVilligenSwitzerland
  3. 3.Institute of Informatics, Kansai UniversityOsakaJapan
  4. 4.Department of NeurologyUniversity HospitalDüsseldorfGermany
  5. 5.Department of NeurologyUniversity HospitalGenevaSwitzerland

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