Bimanual Circle Drawing during Secondary Task Loading

in Motor Control
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Seven right-handed participants performed bimanual circling movements in either a symmetrical or an asymmetrical coordination mode. Movements were paced with an auditory metronome at predetermined frequencies corresponding to transition frequency, where asymmetrical patterns became unstable, or at two-thirds transition frequency, where both symmetrical and asymmetrical patterns were stable. The pacing tones were presented in either a high (1000 Hz) or low (500 Hz) pitch, and the percentage of high-pitched tones during a 20 s trial varied between 0% and 70%. Participants were instructed to count the number of high-pitched pacing tones that occurred during a trial of bimanual circling. Overall, the symmetrical pattern was more stable than the asymmetrical pattern at both frequencies. Errors on the tone-counting task were significantly higher during asymmetrical circling than symmetrical circling but only at the transition movement frequency. The results suggest that cognitive processes play a role in maintaining coordination patterns within regions of instability.

Jeffery J. Summers and Don F. Bysouth-Young are with the Department of Psychology, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia 4350. Winston D. Byblow is with the Department of Sport & Exercise Science, University of Auckland, New Zealand. Andras Semjen is with the Laboratoire de Neurosciences Cognitives, CNRS, Marseille, France.