Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 168, Issue 1–2, pp 230–240 | Cite as

Grasping with the left and right hand: a kinematic study

  • Alexandra Grosskopf
  • Johann P. Kuhtz-BuschbeckEmail author
Research Article


The goal of the present study was to compare prehension movements of the dominant and the non-dominant hand. Twenty right-handed volunteers (age 20–30 years) reached forward to grasp a cylindrical object, which was lifted and then placed into a target position in a retraction–insertion movement. The movements were performed at three different velocities (normal, deliberately fast, or slowly) both, under visual control, and in a no-vision condition. Analysis of the kinematic data revealed that the speed of hand transport influenced pre-shaping of both hands in a similar way. In the visual condition, the grip aperture increased about linearly with peak transport velocity, while it increased non-linearly with shorter movement duration. Comparison of the regression parameters showed that these relationships were nearly identical for both hands. The dominant hand was faster in inserting the object into the target position. Otherwise, no significant inter-manual differences were found. During prehension without visual control, the fingers opened more and movement duration was prolonged. Except for a larger grip aperture of the dominant hand at the end of the acceleration phase, the kinematic data of both hands were again comparable. This invariance was in contrast to performance in fine motor skills such as a pegboard test and drawing movements, where there was a clear advantage of the dominant hand. The similar pre-shaping of both hands during prehension is discussed with regard to a common motor representation of grasping.


Human Prehension Arm movement Motor control 



We thank Dr. I. Schröder and Professor M. Illert for their help. This work was financially supported by the Hensel-Stiftung.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandra Grosskopf
    • 1
  • Johann P. Kuhtz-Buschbeck
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of PhysiologyChristian-Albrechts UniversityKielGermany

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