The Interaction of Tactile Information and Movement Amplitude in a Multijoint Bimanual Circle-Tracing Task: Phase Transitions and Loss of Stability Academic Article uri icon


  • Adaptive behaviour in bimanual coordination was examined with the use of a bimanual circle-tracing task. Circle diameter and tactile information were manipulated to form four tracing conditions: tracing a pair of 3-cm diameter circles with the tips of the index fingers (3F) or hand-held styli (3S) and tracing a pair of 10-cm diameter circles with the tips of the index fingers (10F) or hand-held styli (10S). Movement frequency was increased in all conditions. In the 3F, 3S, and 10S tracing conditions, an abrupt transition from asymmetric to symmetric coordination was the main adaptive response, while in the 10F tracing condition, phase wandering was the main adaptive response. Enhancement of fluctuations in relative phase, a signature of loss of stability, occurred before the transition from asymmetric to symmetric coordination. Movement frequency and movement amplitude interact as control parameters in this task. The results are discussed with reference to tactile surface contact and joint motion as sources of sensory information that can be used to stabilize bimanual coordination patterns. The presence or absence of tactile information is directly linked to the specific form of adaptive behaviour (phase transition or phase wandering) that emerges as a function of required movement amplitude and required pacing frequency.

author list (cited authors)

  • Buchanan, J. J., & Ryu, Y. U.

citation count

  • 18

publication date

  • July 2005