Frames of reference in action plan recall: influence of hand and handedness
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Evidence suggests that people are more likely to recall features of previous plans and use them for subsequent movements, rather than generating action plans from scratch for each movement. The information used for plan recall during object manipulation tasks is stored in extrinsic (object-centered) rather than intrinsic (body-centered) coordinates. The present study examined whether action plan recall processes are influenced by manual asymmetries. Right-handed (Experiment 1) and left-handed (Experiment 2) participants grasped a plunger from a home position using either the dominant or the non-dominant hand and placed it at one of the three target positions located at varying heights (home-to-target moves). Subsequently, they stepped sideways down from a podium (step-down podium), onto a podium (step-up podium), or without any podium present (no podium), before returning the plunger to the home platform using the same hand (target-back-to-home moves). The data show that, regardless of hand and handedness, participants grasped the plunger at similar heights during the home-to-target and target-back-to-home moves, even if they had to adopt quite different arm postures to do so. Thus, these findings indicate that the information used for plan recall processes in sequential object manipulation tasks is stored in extrinsic coordinates and in an effector-independent manner.
KeywordsGrasping Motor planning Manual asymmetries Frame of reference Posture
This research was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG EXC 277). The authors thank Alisa Berger and Sabrina Lemling for their help in data collection, Christoph Schütz for his help on the modeling, and Thorsten Schäfers for building the experimental setup.
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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