The influence of asymmetric force requirements on a multi-frequency bimanual coordination task.
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An experiment was designed to determine the impact of the force requirements on the production of bimanual 1:2 coordination patterns requiring the same (symmetric) or different (asymmetric) forces when Lissajous displays and goal templates are provided. The Lissajous displays have been shown to minimize the influence of attentional and perceptual constraints allowing constraints related to neural crosstalk to be more clearly observed. Participants (N=20) were randomly assigned to a force condition in which the left or right limb was required to produce more force than the contralateral limb. In each condition participants were required to rhythmically coordinate the pattern of isometric forces in a 1:2 coordination pattern. Participant performed 13 practice trials and 1 test trial per force level. The results indicated that participants were able to effectively coordinate the 1:2 multi-frequency goal patterns under both symmetric and asymmetric force requirements. However, consistent distortions in the force and force velocity time series were observed for one limb that appeared to be associated with the production of force in the contralateral limb. Distortions in the force produced by the left limb occurred regardless of the force requirements of the task (symmetric, asymmetric) or whether the left or right limb had to produce more force than the contralateral limb. However, distinct distortions in the right limb occurred only when the left limb was required to produce 5 times more force than the right limb. These results are consistent with the notion that neural crosstalk can influence both limbs, but may manifest differently for each limb depending on the force requirements of the task.