Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 233, Issue 10, pp 2801–2812 | Cite as

Frames of reference in action plan recall: influence of hand and handedness

  • Christian SeegelkeEmail author
  • Charmayne M. L. Hughes
  • Kathrin Wunsch
  • Robrecht van der Wel
  • Matthias Weigelt
Research Article


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.


Grasping 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.

Ethical Standard

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.

Supplementary material

221_2015_4350_MOESM1_ESM.eps (380 kb)
Supplementary Material 1 Mean grasp height as a function of target shelf height relative to plunger base (top panels) and relative to feet (bottom panels) for the step-down podium (left panels), no podium (middle panels), and step-up podium conditions (right panels). The curves show HT moves (black markers) and TH moves (white markers) separately for the dominant right hand (DH; circles) and the non-dominant left hand (NDH; squares) in right-handed participants. Error bars represent standard errors after removal of between-subject variability (Cosineau 2005). Normalized data were used only for visualization purposes, not for statistical analyses. (EPS 380 kb)
221_2015_4350_MOESM2_ESM.eps (380 kb)
Supplementary Material 2 Mean grasp height as a function of target shelf height relative to plunger base (top panels) and relative to feet (bottom panels) for the step-down podium (left panels), no podium (middle panels), and step-up podium conditions (right panels). The curves show HT moves (black markers) and TH moves (white markers) separately for the dominant left hand (DH; circles) and the non-dominant right hand (NDH; squares) in left-handed participants. Error bars represent standard errors after removal of between-subject variability (Cosineau 2005). Normalized data were used only for visualization purposes, not for statistical analyses. (EPS 380 kb)


  1. Ansuini C, Giosa L, Turella L, Altoè G, Castiello U (2008) An object for an action, the same object for other actions: effects on hand shaping. Exp Brain Res 185:111–119CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Begliomini C, de Sanctis T, Marangon M, Tarantino V, Sartori L, Miotto D, Motta R, Stramare R, Castiello U (2014) An investigation of the neural circuits underlying reaching and reach-to-grasp movements: from planning to execution. Front Hum Neurosci 8:676PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Bernstein N (1967) The co-ordination and regulation of movements. Pergamon Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  4. Borod JC, Caron HS, Koff E (1984) Left-handers and right-handers compared on performance and preference measures of lateral dominance. Br J Psychol 75:177–186CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Boulinguez P, Nougier V, Velay J (2001) Manual asymmetries in reaching movement control. i: study of right-handers. Cortex 37:101–122CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Bryden PJ (1977) Measuring handedness with questionnaires. Neuropsychologia 15:617–624CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Cohen RG, Rosenbaum DA (2004) Where grasps are made reveals how grasps are planned: generation and recall of motor plans. Exp Brain Res 157:486–495CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Cordo P, Carlton L, Bevan L, Carlton M, Kerr GK (1994) Proprioceptive coordination of movement sequences: role of velocity and position information. J Neurophysiol 71:1848–1861PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Cordo P, Gurfinkel VS, Bevan L, Kerr GK (1995) Proprioceptive consequences of tendon vibration during movement. J Neurophysiol 74:1675–1688PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Coren S, Porac C (1977) Fifty centuries of right-handedness: the historical record. Science 198:631–632CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Cosineau D (2005) Confidence intervals in within-subject designs: a simpler solution to Loftus and Masson’s method. Tutor Quant Methods Psychol 1:42–45Google Scholar
  12. Dragovich M (2004) Categorization and validation of handedness using latent class analysis. Acta Neuropsychiatrica 16:212–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Elliott D, Chua R (1996) Manual asymmetries in goal-directed movements. In: Elliott D, Roy EA (eds) Manual asymmetries in motor performance. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 143–158Google Scholar
  14. Elliott D, Lyons J, Chua R, Goodman D, Carson RG (1995) The influence of target perturbation on manual aiming asymmetries in right-handers. Cortex 31:685–697CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Flowers K (1975) Handedness and controlled movement. Br J Psychol 66:39–55CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Gentilucci M (2002) Object motor representation and reaching-grasping control. Neuropsychologia 40:1139–1153CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Glover S (2004) Separate visual representations in the planning and control of action. Behav Brain Sci 27:3–24PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Glover S, Wall MB, Smith AT (2012) Distinct cortical networks support the planning and online control of reaching-to-grasp in humans. Eur J Neurosci 35:909–915CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Goble DJ, Brown SH (2007) Task-dependent asymmetries in the utilization of proprioceptive feedback for goal-directed movement. Exp Brain Res 180:693–704CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Goble DJ, Brown SH (2008a) The biological and behavioral basis of upper limb asymmetries in sensorimotor performance. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 32:598–610CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Goble DJ, Brown SH (2008b) Upper limb asymmetries in the matching of proprioceptive versus visual targets. J Neurophysiol 99:3063–3074CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Goble DJ, Lewis CA, Hurvitz EA, Brown SH (2005) Development of upper limb proprioceptive accuracy in children and adolescents. Hum Mov Sci 24:155–170CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Goble DJ, Lewis CA, Brown SH (2006) Upper limb asymmetries in the utilization of proprioceptive feedback. Exp Brain Res 168:307–311CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Goodale MA, Westwood DA, Milner AD (2004) Two distinct modes of control for object-directed action. Prog Brain Res 144:131–144CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Grol MJ, Majdandzic J, Stephan KE, Verhagen L, Dijkerman HC, Bekkering H, Verstraten FAJ, Toni I (2007) Parieto-frontal connectivity during visually guided grasping. J Neurosci 27:11877–11887PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Herbort O (2012) Where to grasp a tool? Task-dependent adjustments of tool transformations by tool users. Zeitschrift für Psychologie 220:37–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Honda H (1982) Rightward superiority of eye movements in a bimanual aiming task. Q J Exp Psychol Sect A Hum Exp Psychol 34:499–513CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Honda H (1984) Functional between-hand differences and outflow eye position information. Q J Exp Psychol Sect A Hum Exp Psychol 36:75–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hughes CM, Reißig P, Seegelke C (2011a) Motor planning and execution in left- and right-handed individuals during a bimanual grasping and placing task. Acta Psychol 138:111–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hughes CML, Haddad JM, Franz EA, Zelaznik HN, Ryu JH (2011b) Physically coupling two objects in a bimanual task alters kinematics but not end-state comfort. Exp Brain Res 211:219–229CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Hughes CM, Seegelke C, Schack T (2012a) The influence of initial and final precision on motor planning: individual differences in end-state comfort during unimanual grasping and placing. J Mot Behav 44:195–201CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Hughes CML, Seegelke C, Reißig P, Schütz C (2012b) Effects of stimulus cueing on bimanual grasp posture planning. Exp Brain Res 219:391–401CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Huhn JM, Schimpf KA, van der Wel Robrecht P (2014) Symmetries in action: on the interactive nature of planning constraints for bimanual object manipulation. Exp Brain Res 232:3919–3927CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Janssen L, Meulenbroek RGJ, Steenbergen B (2011) Behavioral evidence for left-hemisphere specialization of motor planning. Exp Brain Res 209:65–72PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Jeannerod M (1981) Intersegmental coordination during reaching at natural visual objects. In: Long J, Baddelay A (eds) Attention and performance IX. Erlbaum, Hillsdale, pp 153–168Google Scholar
  36. Jeannerod M (1984) The timing of natural prehension movements. J Mot Behav 16:235–254CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Marteniuk RG, MacKenzie CL, Jeannerod M, Athenes S, Dugas C (1987) Constraints on human arm movement trajectories. Can J Psychol 41:365–378CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Mieschke P, Elliott D, Helsen WF, Carson R, Coull J (2001) Manual asymmetries in the preparation and control of goal-directed movements. Brain Cogn 45:129–140CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Oldfield R (1971) The assessment and analysis of handedness: the Edinburgh inventory. Neuropsychologia 9:97–133CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Perelle IB, Ehrman L (2005) On the Other Hand. Behav Genet 35:343–350CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Przybyla A, Good DC, Sainburg RL (2012) Dynamic dominance varies with handedness: reduced interlimb asymmetries in left-handers. Exp Brain Res 216:419–431PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Rosenbaum DA, Chaiken SR (2001) Frames of reference in perceptual-motor learning: evidence from a blind manual positioning task. Psychol Res 65:119–127CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Rosenbaum DA, Jorgensen MJ (1992) Planning macroscopic aspects of manual control. Hum Mov Sci 11:61–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Rosenbaum DA, Meulenbroek RGJ, Vaughan J (1999) Remembered positions: stored locations or stored postures? Exp Brain Res 124:503–512CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Rosenbaum DA, Halloran E, Cohen RG (2006) Grasping movement plans. Psychol Bull Rev 13:918–922CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Rosenbaum DA, Chapman KM, Weigelt M, Weiss DJ, van der Wel R (2012) Cognition, action, and object manipulation. Psychol Bull 138:924–946PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Roy EA, Elliott D (1989) Manual asymmetries in aimed movements. Q J Exp Psychol Sect A 41:501–516CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Roy EA, Kalbfleich L, Elliott D (1994) Kinematic analyses of manual asymmetries in visual aiming movements. Brain Cogn 24:289–295CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Sainburg R (2002) Evidence for a dynamic-dominance hypothesis of handedness. Exp Brain Res 142:241–258CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Sainburg RL (2014) Convergent models of handedness and brain lateralization. Front Psychol 5:1092PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Sainburg RL, Poizner H, Ghez C (1993) Loss of proprioception produces deficits in interjoint coordination. J Neurophysiol 70:2136–2147PubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Sainburg RL, Ghilardi MF, Poizner H, Ghez C (1995) Control of limb dynamics in normal subjects and patients without proprioception. J Neurophysiol 73:820–835PubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Sartori L, Straulino E, Castiello U, Avenanti A (2011) How objects are grasped: the interplay between affordances and end-goals. PLoS One 6:e25203PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Schütz C, Schack T (2013) Influence of mechanical load on sequential effects. Exp Brain Res 228:445–455CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Seegelke C (2015) Observing end-state comfort favorable actions does not modulate action plan recall. Front Psychol 6:45PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Seegelke C, Hughes CML, Schack T (2011) An investigation into manual asymmetries in grasp behavior and kinematics during an object manipulation task. Exp Brain Res 215:65–75CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. Seegelke C, Hughes CM, Knoblauch A, Schack T (2013a) Grasp posture planning during multi-segment object manipulation tasks—interaction between cognitive and biomechanical factors. Acta Psychol 144:513–521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Seegelke C, Hughes CML, Schack T (2013b) Simulating my own or others action plans?—motor Representations, not visual representations are recalled in motor memory. PLoS One 8:e84662PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Seegelke C, Hughes CML, Schack T (2014) Manual (a)symmetries in grasp posture planning: a short review. Front Psychol 5:1480PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. Todor JI, Cisneros J (1985) Accommodation to increased accuracy demands by the right and left hands. J Mot Behav 17:355–372CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. van der Wel RPRD, Rosenbaum DA (2010) Bimanual grasp planning reflects changing rather than fixed constraint dominance. Exp Brain Res 205:351–362PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. van der Wel RPRD, Fleckenstein RM, Jax SA, Rosenbaum DA (2007) Hand path priming in manual obstacle avoidance: evidence for abstract spatiotemporal forms in human motor control. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 33:1117–1126CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. Weigelt M, Cohen R, Rosenbaum DA (2007) Returning home: location memory versus posture memory in object manipulation. Exp Brain Res 179:191–198CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  64. Weigelt M, Rosenbaum DA, Huelshorst S, Schack T (2009) Moving and memorizing: motor planning modulates the recency effect in serial and free recall. Acta Psychol 132:68–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Woltring HJ (1986) A Fortran package for generalized, crossvalidatory spline smoothing and differentiation. Adv Eng Softw Workst 8:104–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Seegelke
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Charmayne M. L. Hughes
    • 3
  • Kathrin Wunsch
    • 4
  • Robrecht van der Wel
    • 5
  • Matthias Weigelt
    • 6
  1. 1.Neurocognition and Action Research Group, Faculty of Psychology and Sport SciencesBielefeld UniversityBielefeldGermany
  2. 2.Center of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC)BielefeldGermany
  3. 3.Robotics Research Centre, School of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore
  4. 4.Institute of Sport and Sport ScienceUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  5. 5.Department of PsychologyRutgers University CamdenCamdenUSA
  6. 6.Sport Psychology Unit, Department of Sports and Health, Faculty of SciencePaderborn UniversityPaderbornGermany

Personalised recommendations