Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 176, Issue 4, pp 559–574 | Cite as

Intermanual interactions during initiation and production of rhythmic and discrete movements in individuals lacking a corpus callosum

  • Dagmar Sternad
  • Kunlin Wei
  • Jörn Diedrichsen
  • Richard B. Ivry
Research Article


Three individuals lacking a corpus callosum, two due to callosotomy and one agenesis, and three age-matched healthy controls were tested on a bimanual task in which a discrete or rhythmic arm movement was initiated following a visual signal while the other arm produced continuous, rhythmic movements. The control participants initiated the secondary, rhythmic movement in phase with the ongoing rhythmic base movement and the two limbs were coupled in an inphase mode across the duration of the trial. In contrast, the acallosal individuals failed to show phase entrainment at the initiation of the secondary, rhythmic movements. Moreover, the callosotomy patients exhibited weak coupling between the rhythmically moving limbs while the individual with callosal agenesis consistently synchronized in an antiphase mode. The control participants exhibited increased perturbation of the ongoing base movement when initiating a discrete movement; for the acallosal participants, the base movement was similarly perturbed in both secondary movement conditions. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that intermanual interactions observed during bimanual movements arise from various levels of control, and that these are distinct for discrete and rhythmic movements. Temporal coupling during rhythmic movements arises in large part from transcallosal interactions between the two hemispheres. The imposition of a secondary movement may transiently disrupt an ongoing rhythmic movement even in the absence of the corpus callosum. This may reflect subcortical interactions associated with response initiation, or, due to dual task demands, a transient shift in attentional resources.


Bimanual coordination Rhythmic movements Discrete movements Corpus callosum Subcortical coupling Interhemispheric connection 



This research was supported by the National Science Foundation (BCS-0096543 and PAC-0450218), the Tobacco Settlement Funds 4100020604, and the National Institutes of Health (HD045639, NS30296, NS40813).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dagmar Sternad
    • 1
  • Kunlin Wei
    • 1
  • Jörn Diedrichsen
    • 2
  • Richard B. Ivry
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of KinesiologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.School of Pscychology, Adeilad BrigantiaUniversity of Wales BangorGwyneddUK
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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