Psychological Research

, Volume 70, Issue 4, pp 229–244 | Cite as

The influence of movement cues on intermanual interactions

  • Herbert Heuer
  • Wolfhard Klein
Original Article


In two experiments, we studied intermanual interactions in bimanual reversal movements and bimanual aiming movements. Targets were presented on a monitor or directly on the table on which the movements were produced. Amplitudes for each hand were cued symbolically or spatially either in advance of an imperative signal or simultaneous with it. In contrast to findings of Diedrichsen et al. (Psychological Science, 12, 493–498, 2001), reaction times for different-amplitude movements were longer than for same-amplitude movements both for symbolic and spatial cues presented on the monitor and directly on the table. However, with symbolic cues the effect of the relation between target amplitudes was considerably stronger than with spatial cues, no matter where the cues were presented. Intermanual correlations of amplitudes, movement times, and reaction times were smaller with different than with same target amplitudes, and this modulation was more pronounced when targets and cues were presented on the monitor than when they were presented on the table. The findings are taken to suggest that the basic reaction-time disadvantage of different-amplitude movements results from interference between concurrent processes of amplitude specification. Additional factors like interference between concurrent processes of mapping cues on movement characteristics may add strongly to it.


Movement Time Concurrent Process Imperative Signal Bimanual Movement Assimilation Effect 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was supported by grant HE 1187/14-1 of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. We thank Barbara Herbst, Holger Küper, Kevin Schepers, and Henning Stracke for their support in setting up and running the experiments.


  1. Bock, O., & Eckmiller, R. (1986). Goal-directed arm movements in absence of visual guidance: evidence for amplitude rather than position control. Experimental Brain Research, 62, 451–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bock, O., & Arnold, K. (1993). Error accumulation and error correction in sequential pointing movements. Experimental Brain Research, 95, 111–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boessenkool, J.J., Nijhof, E.-J., & Erkelens, C.J. (1999). Variability and correlations in bimanual pointing movements. Human Movement Science, 18, 525–552.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cattaert, D., Semjen, A., & Summers, J.J. (1999). Simulating a neural cross-talk model for between-hand interference during bimanual circle drawing. Biological Cybernetics, 81, 343–358.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Corcos, D.M. (1984). Two-handed movement control. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 55, 117–122.Google Scholar
  6. Diedrichsen, J., Hazeltine, E., Kennerley, S., & Ivry, R.B. (2001). Moving to directly cued locations abolishes spatial interference during bimanual actions. Psychological Science, 12, 493–498.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Diedrichsen, J., Ivry, R.B., Hazeltine, E., Kennerley, S., & Cohen, A. (2003). Bimanual interference associated with the selection of target locations. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 29, 64–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Donchin, O., & Cardoso de Oliveira, S. (2004). Electrophysiological approaches to bimanual coordination in primates. In: S.P. Swinnen & J. Duysens (Eds.), Neurobehavioral determinants of interlimb coordination (pp. 131–153). Norwell, MA: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  9. Falkenstein, M., Hohnsbein, J., Hoormann, J., & Kleinsorge, T. (2003). Short-term mobilization of resources is revealed in the ERP. Psychophysiology, 40, 914–923.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Goodman, D., & Kelso, J.A.S. (1980). Are movements prepared in parts? Not under compatible (naturalized) conditions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 109, 475–495.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gordon, J., Ghilardi, M.F., & Ghez, C. (1994). Accuracy of planar reaching movements. I. Independence of direction and extent variability. Experimental Brain Research, 99, 97–111.Google Scholar
  12. Hazeltine, E., Diedrichsen, J., Kennerley, S.W., & Ivry, R.B. (2003). Bimanual cross-talk during reaching movements is primarily related to response selection, not the specification of motor parameters. Psychological Research, 67, 56–70.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Hening, W., Favilla, M., & Ghez, C. (1988). Trajectory control in targeted force impulses. V. Gradual specification of response amplitude. Experimental Brain Research, 71, 116–128.Google Scholar
  14. Heuer, H. (1986). Intermanual interactions during programming of finger movements: transient effects of ‘homologous coupling’. In: H. Heuer & C. Fromm (Eds.), Generation and modulation of action patterns (pp. 87–101). Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  15. Heuer, H. (1993). Structural constraints on bimanual movements. Psychological Research, 55, 83–98.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Heuer, H. (1996). Coordination. In: H. Heuer & S.W. Keele (Eds.), Handbook of Perception and Action. Vol. 2: Motor skills (pp. 121–180). London: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  17. Heuer, H., & Sangals, J. (1998). Task-dependent mixtures of coordinate systems in visuomotor transformations. Experimental Brain Research, 119, 224–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 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. Experimental Brain Research, 118, 381–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Heuer, H., Kleinsorge, T., Spijkers, W., & Steglich, C. (2001). Static and phasic cross-talk effects in discrete bimanual reversal movements. Journal of Motor Behavior, 33, 67–85.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Heuer, H., Spijkers, W., Steglich, C., & Kleinsorge, T. (2002). Parametric coupling and generalized decoupling revealed by concurrent and successive isometric contractions of distal muscles. Acta Psychologica, 111, 205–242.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Ivry, R., Diedrichsen, J., Spencer, R., Hazeltine, E., & Semjen, A. (2004). A cognitive neuroscience perspective on bimanual coordination and interference. In: S.P. Swinnen & J. Duysens (Eds.), Neuro-behavioral determinants of interlimb coordination (pp. 259–295). Norwell, MA: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  22. Jaskowski, P., van der Lubbe, R.H., Wauschkuhn, B., Wascher, E., & Verleger, R. (2000). The influence of time pressure and cue validity on response force in an S1S2 paradigm. Acta Psychologica, 105, 89–105.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Kelso, J.A.S., Southard, D.L., & Goodman, D. (1979). On the coordination of two-handed movements. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 5, 229–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kleinsorge, T. (2001). The time course of effort mobilization and strategic adjustments of response criteria. Psychological Research, 65, 216–223.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Marteniuk, R.G., & MacKenzie, C.L. (1980). A preliminary theory of two-hand co-ordinated control. In: G.E. Stelmach & J. Requin (Eds.), Tutorials in motor behavior (pp. 185–197). Amsterdam: North-Holland.Google Scholar
  26. Marteniuk, R.G., MacKenzie, C.L., & Baba, D.M. (1984). Bimanual movement control: Information processing and interaction effects. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 36A, 335–365.Google Scholar
  27. Mechsner, F. (2004). A psychological approach to human voluntary movements. Journal of Motor Behavior, 36, 355–370.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Mechsner, F., Kerzel, D., Knoblich, G., & Prinz, W. (2001). Perceptual basis of coordination. Nature, 414, 69–73.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Mechsner, F., & Knoblich, G. (2004). Do muscles matter for coordinated action? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 30, 490–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Norrie, M.L. (1964). Timing of two simultaneous movements of arms and legs. Research Quarterly, 35, 511–522.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Norrie, M.L. (1967). Effects of unequal distances and handedness on timing patterns for simultaneous movements of arms and legs. Research Quarterly, 38, 241–246.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Rinkenauer, G., Ulrich, R., & Wing, A.M. (2001). Brief bimanual force pulses: correlations between the hands in force and time. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 27, 1485–1497.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rosenbaum, D.A. (1980). Human movement initiation: Specification of arm, direction, and extent. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 109, 444–474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Schmidt, R.A., & McGown, C. (1980). Terminal accuracy of unexpectedly loaded rapid movements: Evidence for a mass-spring mechanism in programming. Journal of Motor Behavior, 12, 149–161.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Schmidt, R.A., McGown, C., Quinn, J.T., & Hawkins, B. (1986). Unexpected inertial loading in rapid reversal movements: violations of equifinality. Human Movement Science, 5, 263–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sherwood, D.E. (1990). Practice and assimilation effects in a multilimb aiming task. Journal of Motor Behavior, 22, 267–291.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Sherwood, D.E. (1991). Distance and location assimilation effects in rapid bimanual movement. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 62, 302–308.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Sherwood, D.E. (1994a). Interlimb amplitude differences, spatial assimilations, and the temporal structure of rapid bimanual movements. Human Movement Science, 13, 841–860.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Sherwood, D.E. (1994b). Hand preference, practice order, and spatial assimilations in rapid bimanual movement. Journal of Motor Behavior, 26, 123–134.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Sherwood, D.E., & Nishimura, K.M. (1992). EMG amplitude and spatial assimilation effects in rapid bimanual movement. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 63, 284–291.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Soechting, J.F., & Flanders, M. (1989). Sesorimotor representations for pointing to targets in three-dimensional space. Journal of Neurophysiology, 62, 582–594.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Spijkers, W., & Heuer, H. (1995). Structural constraints on the performance of symmetrical bimanual movements with different amplitudes. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 48A, 716–740.Google Scholar
  43. Spijkers, W., Heuer, H., Kleinsorge, T., & van der Loo, H. (1997). Preparation of bimanual movements with same and different amplitudes: Specification interference as revealed by reaction time. Acta Psychologica, 96, 207–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Steglich, C., Heuer, H., Spijkers, W., & Kleinsorge, T. (1999). Bimanual coupling during the specification of isometric forces. Experimental Brain Research, 129, 302–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Van den Dobbelsteen, J.J., Brenner, E., & Smeets, J.B.J. (2001). Endpoints of arm movements to visual targets. Experimental Brain Research, 138, 279–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Weigelt, C., & Cardoso de Oliveira, S. (2003). Visuomotor transformations affect bimanual coupling. Experimental Brain Research, 148, 439–450.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Arbeitsphysiologie an der Universität DortmundDortmundGermany

Personalised recommendations