Bimanual coordination in children: manipulation of object size
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- Mason, A.H., Bruyn, J.L. & Lazarus, JA.C. Exp Brain Res (2010) 201: 797. doi:10.1007/s00221-009-2100-2
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An experiment was designed to investigate the temporal and spatial couplings of the transport and grasp components for bimanual movements performed by children. Thirty-one participants aged 4–6 (younger) and 7–10 (older) performed the unimanual task of reaching for, grasping, and lifting a small or large cylinder with the right or left hands or the bimanual task of reaching for, grasping and lifting two small cylinders, two large cylinders, or one small and one large cylinder with the right and left hands. Kinematic measures, relative timing differences between the hands, spatial plots and cluster analysis were used to quantify both temporal and spatial couplings of the limbs. While average kinematic results indicated that children in the 4–6 and 7–10 age range performed bimanual movements similarly to each other, spatio-temporal coupling measures indicated that the younger children performed the bimanual movements in a more sequential (serial) fashion. Kinematic results also indicated that the cost of the increase in task complexity normally seen in adults when grasping two targets bimanually compared to a single target unimanually are not consistently present for children. Instead, the cost associated with increases in task complexity appear to be mediated by whether the bimanual task imposes significantly greater demands on attentional processes. These results indicate that attention demands of the task as well as the intrinsic dynamics of the individual determine the degree of interlimb coupling of children during bimanual reach-to-grasp of different-sized objects.