The present study investigates whether the acquisition of a rhythmical bimanual coordination pattern is influenced by existing intrinsic coordination tendencies. Participants were required to learn 1 of 5 new coordination patterns, whose relative phase ϕ was either 36, 60, or 90° away from the 0° and 180° attractors, respectively. They performed 35 trials, each consisting of 2 conditions: In the augmented feedback condition, continuous visual guidance was provided, while in the normal feedback condition participants were required to rely on normal vision of their arms. We found that all to-be-learned patterns were performed with higher accuracy in the visually guided condition, whereas interference with pre-existing coordination tendencies was more pronounced in the normal vision condition. Comparing the learning progress of the 5 groups, we found for patterns close to anti-phase, a smaller improvement and significantly larger phase errors than for patterns close to in-phase. This indicates that the acquisition of a new phase relationship is influenced by existing attractors and that the 180º attractor interfered more strongly with the to-be-learned pattern than the 0º attractor.
N. Wenderoth is with the Department of Kinesiology at K.U. Leuven, Tervuursevest 101, B-3001 Heverlee, Belgium. O. Bock and R. Krohn are with the Department of Physiology at the German Sport University, 50927 Köln, Germany.