We investigated how the relative direction of limb movements in external space (iso- and non-isodirectionality), muscular constraints (the relative timing of homologous muscle activation) and the egocentric frame of reference (moving simultaneously toward/away the longitudinal axis of the body) contribute to the stability of coordinated movements. In the first experiment, we attempted to determine the respective stability of isodirectional and non-isodirectional movements in between-persons coordination. In a second experiment, we determined the effect of the relative direction in external space, and of muscular constraints, on pattern stability during a within-person bimanual coordination task. In the third experiment we dissociated the effects on pattern stability of the muscular constraints, relative direction and egocentric frame of reference. The results showed that (1) simultaneous activation of homologous muscles resulted in more stable performance than simultaneous activation of non-homologous muscles during within-subject coordination, and that (2) isodirectional movements were more stable than non-isodirectional movements during between-persons coordination, confirming the role of the relative direction of the moving limbs in the stability of bimanual coordination. Moreover, the egocentric constraint was to some extent found distinguishable from the effect of the relative direction of the moving limbs in external space, and from the effect of the relative timing of muscle activation. In summary, the present study showed that relative direction of the moving limbs in external space and muscular constraints may interact either to stabilize or destabilize coordination patterns. (C) 2003 Published by Elsevier B.V.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Human Factors and Ergonomics