Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 221, Issue 3, pp 351–355 | Cite as

Location but not amount of stimulus occlusion influences the stability of visuomotor coordination

  • Alen HajnalEmail author
  • Michael J. Richardson
  • Steven J. Harrison
  • R. C. Schmidt
Research Note


The current study examined whether the amount and location of available movement information influenced the stability of visuomotor coordination. Participants coordinated a handheld pendulum with an oscillating visual stimulus in an inphase and antiphase manner. The effects of occluding different amounts of phase at different phase locations were examined. Occluding the 0°/180° phase locations (end-points) significantly increased the variability of the visuomotor coordination. The amount of occlusion had little or no affect on the stability of the coordination. We concluded that the end-points of a visual rhythm are privileged and provide access to movement information that ensures stable coordination. The results are discussed with respect to the proposal of Bingham (Ecol Psychol 16:45–43, 2004) and Wilson et al. (Exp Brain Res 165:351–361, 2005) that the relevant information for rhythmic visual coordination is relative direction information.


Coordination Coupling Perception 



The authors would like to thank Justin Goodman for his help with data collection and Bruce Kay, Kerry Marsh, and Michael Turvey for their helpful comments. This work was funded by National Science Foundation Grants BSC-0240277, BCS-0240266, and BCS-0750190.


  1. Amazeen PG, Schmidt RC, Turvey MT (1995) Frequency detuning of the phase entrainment dynamics of visually coupled rhythmic movements. Biol Cybern 72:511–518PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bingham GP (1995) The role of perception in timing: feedback control in motor programming and task dynamics. In: Covey E, Hawkins H, McMullen T, Port R (eds) Neural representation of temporal patterns. Plenum Press, New York, pp 129–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bingham GP (2004a) A perceptually driven dynamical model of bimanual rhythmic movements (and phase entrainment). Ecol Psychol 16:45–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bingham GP (2004b) Another timing variable composed of state variables: phase perception and phase driven oscillators. In: Hecht H, Savelsbergh GJP (eds) Theories of time-to-contact—advances in psychology series. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 421–442Google Scholar
  5. Bingham GP, Zaal F (1999) Effect of frequency on visual perception of relative phase matches bimanual coordination results. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 40:S413–S413Google Scholar
  6. Bingham GP, Zaal FTJM, Shull JA, Collins DR (2001) The effect of frequency on the visual perception of relative phase and phase variability of two oscillating objects. Exp Brain Res 136:543–552PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Byblow WD, Chua R, Goodman D (1995) Asymmetries in coupling dynamics of perception and action. J Mot Behav 27:123–137PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ceux T, Buekers MJ, Montagne G (2003) The effects of enhanced visual feedback on human synchronization. Neurosci Lett 349:103–106PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. de Rugy A, Salesse R, Oullier O, Temprado JJ (2006) A neuro-mechanical model for interpersonal coordination. Biol Cybern 94:427–443PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. de Rugy A, Oullier O, Temprado JJ (2008) Stability of rhythmic visuo-motor tracking does not depend on relative velocity. Exp Brain Res 184(2):269–273PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Haken H, Kelso JAS, Bunz H (1985) A theoretical model of phase transitions in human hand movements. Biol Cybern 51:347–356PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kelso JAS, DelColle JD, Schöner G (1990) Action-perception as a pattern formation process. In: Jeannerod M (ed) Attention and performance XIII, vol 5. Erlbaum, Hillsdale, pp 139–169Google Scholar
  13. Kugler PN, Turvey MT (1987) Information, natural law, and the self-assembly of rhythmic movement. Erlbaum, HillsdaleGoogle Scholar
  14. Liao MJ, Jagacinski RJ (2000) A dynamical systems approach to manual tracking performance. J Mot Behav 32:361–378PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Mechsner F, Kerzel D, Knoblich G, Prinz W (2001) Perceptual basis of bimanual coordination. Nature 414:69–72PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Peper CE, Beek PJ (1998) Are frequency-induced transitions in rhythmic coordination mediated by a drop in amplitude? Biol Cybern 79:291–300PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Richardson MJ, Marsh KL, Schmidt RC (2005) Effects of visual and verbal interaction on unintentional interpersonal coordination. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 31:62–79PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Richardson MJ, Marsh KL, Isenhower R, Goodman J, Schmidt RC (2007) Rocking together: dynamics of intentional and unintentional interpersonal coordination. Hum Mov Sci 26:867–891PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Roerdink M, Peper CE, Beek PJ (2005) Effects of correct and transformed visual feedback on rhythmic visuo-motor tracking: tracking performance and visual search behavior. Hum Mov Sci 24:379–402PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Roerdink M, Ophoff ED, Peper CE, Beek PJ (2008) Visual and musculoskeletal underpinnings of anchoring in rhythmic visuomotor coordination. Exp Brain Res 184:143–156PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Russell DM, de Rugy A, Sternad D (2004) The role of the resonance frequency in rhythmic visuo-motor coordination (unpublished manuscript)Google Scholar
  22. Schmidt RC, Turvey MT (1994) Phase-entrainment dynamics of visually coupled rhythmic movements. Biol Cybern 70:369–376PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Schmidt RC, Carello C, Turvey MT (1990) Phase transitions and critical fluctuations in the visual coordination of rhythmic movements between people. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 16:227–247PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Schmidt RC, Shaw BK, Turvey MT (1993) Coupling dynamics in interlimb coordination. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 19:397–415PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Schmidt RC, Bienvenu M, Fitzpatrick PA, Amazeen PG (1998) A comparison of intra- and interpersonal interlimb coordination: coordination breakdowns and coupling strength. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 24:884–900PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Schmidt RC, Richardson MJ, Arsenault C, Galantucci B (2007) Visual tracking and entrainment to an environmental rhythm. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 33:860–870PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Schöner G, Haken H, Kelso JAS (1986) A stochastic theory of phase transitions in human movement. Biol Cybern 53:247–257PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Temprado JJ, Laurent M (2004) Attentional load associated with performing and stabilizing a between-persons coordination of rhythmic limb movements. Acta Psychol 115:1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Temprado JJ, Swinnen SP, Carson RG, Tourment A, Laurent M (2003) Interaction of directional, neuromuscular and egocentric constraints on the stability of preferred bimanual coordination patterns. Hum Mov Sci 22:339–363PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Wilson AD, Collins DR, Bingham GP (2005a) Human movement coordination implicates relative direction as the information for relative phase. Exp Brain Res 165:351–361PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Wilson AD, Collins DR, Bingham GP (2005b) Perceptual coupling in rhythmic movement coordination—stable perception leads to stable action. Exp Brain Res 164:517–528PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Zaal FTJM, Bingham GP, Schmidt RC (2000) Visual perception of mean relative phase and phase variability. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 26:1209–1220PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alen Hajnal
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael J. Richardson
    • 2
  • Steven J. Harrison
    • 3
  • R. C. Schmidt
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Southern MississippiHattiesburgUSA
  2. 2.Colby CollegeWatervilleUSA
  3. 3.University of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  4. 4.College of the Holy CrossWorcesterUSA

Personalised recommendations