Simultaneous bimanual dynamics are learned without interference
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Dynamic learning in humans has been extensively studied using externally applied force fields to perturb movements of the arm. These studies have focused on unimanual learning in which a force field is applied to only one arm. Here we examine dynamic learning during bimanual movements. Specifically we examine learning of a force field in one arm when the other arm makes movements in a null field or in a force field. For both the dominant and non-dominant arms, the learning (change in performance over the exposure period) was the same regardless of whether the other arm moved in a force field, equivalent either in intrinsic or extrinsic coordinates, or moved in a null field. Moreover there were no significant differences in learning in these bimanual tasks compared to unimanual learning, when one arm experienced a force field and the other arm was at rest. Although the learning was the same, there was an overall increase in error for the non-dominant arm for all bimanual conditions compared to the unimanual condition. This increase in error was the result of bimanual movement alone and was present even in the initial training phase before any forces were introduced. We conclude that, during bimanual movements, the application of a force field to one arm neither interferes with nor facilitates simultaneous learning of a force field applied to the other arm.
KeywordsMotor learning Human studies Dynamic learning
This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust, Human Frontiers Science Programme and the European project SENSOPAC IST-2005-028056 (http://www.sensopac.org).
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