Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 188, Issue 1, pp 125–139 | Cite as

Coordination and control of bimanual prehension: effects of perturbing object location

  • Andrea H. Mason
Research Article


The purpose of the present study was to investigate the coordination of the two effectors when one or both targets were displaced in a bimanual prehension task. Sixteen right-handed volunteers were asked to reach 20 cm to grasp and lift two cubic objects with the right and left hands. Upon initiation of the reach: (1) both objects could remain at the initial position (NN); (2) the right object could be displaced toward the subject (NJ); (3) the left object could be displaced (JN); or (4) both objects could be displaced (JJ). Generally, the results indicated that the hand moving to the perturbed object was reorganized to reach the target efficiently, but hovered to somewhat couple object lift for the two hands. In contrast, adjustments were seen in the velocity profiles of the hand moving to the non-perturbed target, including a premature deceleration phase and corrective movements to reach the target location. Together, these results indicate that when the perturbation of one object occurs during the performance of a bimanual prehension task, visual information is used to independently update the control process for the limb moving to the perturbed object. Additionally, interference causes the limb moving to the non-perturbed target to be inappropriately adjusted in response to the perturbation. Our results also indicated that perceptual and motor factors such as time allotted for the use of feedback and the direction of movement may play a role in the independence/dependence relationship between the hands during bimanual tasks. Furthermore, subjects’ expectations about the performance and goal of the task could have a further influence on the level of interference seen during bimanual movements. Finally, despite interference effects which caused multiple accelerations and decelerations, the hand moving to the non-perturbed target still achieved the target location in the same movement time as during control conditions. This final result indicates the efficiency with which subjects can reorganize both limbs in the face of altered task requirements.


Bimanual Prehension Perturbation Coordination Coupling 



This work is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0346871. I would like to thank Jennifer Bruyn, Mark Wellnitz, Scott Mason and Nicholas Penwarden for software, data collection and data analysis support. I would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.


  1. Bingham GP, Hughes K, Mon-Williams M (2008) The coordination patterns observed when two hands reach-to-grasp separate objects. Exp Brain Res 184:283–293CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Carlon LG (1992) Visual processing time and the control of movement. In: Proteau L, Elliott D (eds) Vision and motor control. North Holland, Amsterdam, pp 3–31Google Scholar
  3. Castiello U, Jeannerod M (1991) Measuring time to awareness. NeuroReport 2:797–800CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Castiello U, Bennett KMB, Paulignan Y (1992) Does the type of prehension influence the kinematics of reaching? Behav Brain Res 50:7–15CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Castiello U, Bennett KMB, Stelmach GE (1993) Reach to grasp: the natural response to perturbation of object size. Exp Brain Res 94:163–178CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Castiello U, Bonfiglioli C, Bennett KMB (1998) Prehension movements and perceived depth structure. Percept Psychophys 60:662–672PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Diedrichsen J, Hazeltine E, Kennerley S, Ivry RB (2001) Moving to directly cued locations abolishes spatial interference during bimanual actions. Psychol Sci 12:493–498CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Diedrichsen J, Nambisan R, Kennerley S, Ivry RB (2004) Independent on-line control of the two hands during bimanual reaching. Eur J Neurosci 19:1643–1652CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Dohle C, Ostermann G, Hefter H, Freund H-J (2000) Different coupling for the reach and grasp components in bimanual prehension movements. NeuroReport 11:3787–3791CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Franz EA, Zelaznik HN, McCabe G (1991) Spatial topological constraints in a bimanual task. Acta Psychol 77:137–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gentilucci M, Castiello U, Chieffi S, Scarpa M (1992) Temporal coupling between transport and grasp components during prehension movements: effects of visual perturbation. Behav Brain Res 47:71–82CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Georgopoulos AP, Kalaska J, Massey JT (1981) Spatial trajectories and reaction times of aimed movements: effects of practice, uncertainty, and change in target location. J Neurophysiol 46:725–743PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Haggard P, Wing AM (1995) Coordinated responses following mechanical perturbation of the arm during prehension. Exp Brain Res 102:483–494CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Heuer H, Spijkers W, Kleinsorge T, van der Loo H, Steglich C (1998) The time course of cross-talk during the simultaneous specification of bimanual movement amplitudes. Exp Brain Res 118:381–392CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Jackson GM, German K, Peacock K (2002) Functional coupling between the limbs during bimanual reach-to-grasp movements. Hum Mov Sci 21:317–333CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Jackson GM, Jackson SR, Husain M, Harvey M, Kramer T, Dow L (2000) The coordination of bimanaul prehension movements in a centrally deafferented patient. Brain 123:380–393CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Jackson GM, Jackson SR, Kritikos A (1999) Attention for action: coordination of bimanual reach-to-grasp movements. Br J Psychol 90:247–270CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Jeannerod M (1981) Intersegmental coordination during reaching at natural visual objects. In: Long J, Baddeley A (eds) Attention and performance IX. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, pp 153–169Google Scholar
  19. Kelso JAS (1995) Dynamic patterns: the self-organization of brain and behaviour. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  20. Kelso JAS, Southard DL, Goodman D (1979) On the coordination of two-handed movements. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 5:229–238CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Kunde W, Weigelt M (2005) Goal congruency in bimanual object manipulation. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 31:145–156CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Marteniuk RG, MacKenzie CL, Baba DM (1984) Bimanual movement control: information processing and interaction effects. Q J Exp Psychol 36A:335–365Google Scholar
  23. Mason AH (2007) Performance of unimanual and bimanual multiphased prehensile movements. J Motor Behav 39:291–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Paulignan Y, Jeannerod M, MacKenzie CL, Marteniuk RG (1991a) Selective perturbation of visual input during prehension movements. 2. The effects of changing object size. Exp Brain Res 87:407–420CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Paulignan Y, MacKenzie CL, Marteniuk RG, Jeannerod M (1991b) Selective perturbation of visual input during prehension movements. 1. The effects of changin object position. Exp Brain Res 83:502–512CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Riek S, Tresilian JR, Mon-Williams M, Coppard VL, Carson RG (2003) Bimanual aiming and overt attention: one law for two hands. Exp Brain Res 153:59–75CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Scarpa M, Castiello U (1994) Perturbation of a prehension movement in Parkinson’s disease. Mov Disord 9:415–425CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Spijkers W, Heuer H (1995) Structural constraines on the performance os symmetrical bimanual movements with different amplitudes. Q J Exp Psychol Hum Exp Psychol 48:716–740Google Scholar
  29. Swinnen S (2002) Intermanual coordination: from behavioural principles to neural-network interactions. Nat Rev Neurosci 3:348–359CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Weigelt C, Cardoso de Oliveira SC (2004) Visuomotor transformations affect bimanual coupling. Exp Brain Res 148(4):439–450Google Scholar
  31. Woodworth RS (1899) The accuracy of voluntary movement. Psychol Rev 3 (monograph supplement 3, whole no. 13):1–114Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of KinesiologyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

Personalised recommendations