A guide to performing difficult bimanual coordination tasks: just follow the yellow brick road
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Both discrete and continuous bimanual coordination patterns are difficult to effectively perform when the two limbs are required to perform different movements patterns, move at different velocities and/or move different amplitudes unless some form of integrated feedback is provided. The purpose of the present experiment was to determine the degree to which a complex bimanual coordination pattern could be performed when integrated feedback and movement template are provided. The complex bimanual coordination pattern involved reciprocal movements of the two limbs under different difficulty requirements. As defined by Fitts' index of difficulty (ID), the left arm (ID = 3, A = 16°, W = 4°) task was of lower difficulty than the right arm task (ID = 5, A = 32°, W = 2°). Note that the left and right limb movements are also different in terms of movement time, movement velocity, accuracy requirements and amplitude as well as one movement was continuous and the other intermittent. Participants were provided 2 blocks of 9 trials in the bimanual condition (30 s/trial). Following the bimanual phase, participants performed two unimanual test trials-one with each limb. The results demonstrated that the performance for each limb in the bimanual condition was similar to the performance for the same limb and conditions in the unimanual control conditions. The similarity was indicated by the same movement speed, movement structure, endpoint variability and hit rates for the bimanual and unimanual conditions. The results support our hypothesis that people can overcome the intrinsic difficulties associated with performing complex bimanual coordination patterns when provided appropriate perceptual information feedback that allows them to detect and correct coordination errors.
author list (cited authors)
Wang, C., Kennedy, D. M., Boyle, J. B., & Shea, C. H.