Bimanual coupling during the specification of isometric forces
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The present study investigated the generalizability of the hypothesis of transient coupling during the preparation of bimanual movements (Spijkers and Heuer 1995) to the specification of isometric forces. In the first experiment we used the timed response paradigm (TRP) to examine the time course of the specification process. Subjects had to generate bimanual isometric force pulses while preparation time was controlled by the TRP. Target forces were weak (20% of maximal voluntary force, MVF) or strong (40% MVF) and assigned randomly to each hand. The first experiment revealed the predicted pattern of correlations between the peak forces but, because the subjects tended to delay responding when time for preparation was very brief, the time course of the specification process did not fully match expectations. In the second experiment we improved force–trajectory feedback and presented two initial cues that were expected to induce better preparation of the default force (30% MVF). Both changes were successful and the results further corroborate the transient-coupling hypothesis.
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