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Nonstationarity of Stable States in Rhythmic Bimanual Coordination

Eric G. James

The HKB model and its variants characterize bimanual coordination with fixedpoint dynamics and predict stationarity of the mean and variance of relative phase in stable coordinative states. In the current study, participants performed in-phase and antiphase coordination modes in rhythmic bimanual finger and elbow flexionextension tasks. The results of runs tests revealed that discrete relative phase was nonstationary in 49.25%, 50.25%, and 54% of time-series in the 10, 20, and 30 box runs tests, respectively. In all individual Task conditions >38% of time-series were nonstationary. These findings contradicted model predictions that the mean and variance of relative phase are stationary in bimanual coordination and distinguish the concept of dynamical stability from statistical stationarity. The findings indicated that relative phase was not attracted to a stationary fixed-point and that fluctuations in relative phase are not Gaussian white noise as in existing models of bimanual coordination.

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Reorganization of Catching Coordination under Varying Temporal Constraints

Liesbeth I.N. Mazyn, Gilles Montagne, Geert J.P. Savelsbergh, and Matthieu Lenoir

In the present study, the limits of human catching behavior were challenged to investigate quantitative and qualitative adaptations of the catching movement when performing under varying ball speeds, implying minor as well as severe temporal constraints. Nine male participants caught balls approaching at speeds ranging from 8.5 to 19.7 m/s with their preferred hand. Although a decrease in catching performance was undeniable, several quantitative adaptations provided the catcher with extra time and allowed to compensate the decrease in spatial accuracy with increasing speed. More importantly, changes in the coordination between hand, elbow, and shoulder emerged with increasing movement velocity. More demanding temporal constraints lead to a shift from relatively independent activity of each joint towards a mode in which several joints act as one unit. This reorganization of the coordination pattern of the catch is discussed in the context of Bernstein’s degrees of freedom problem.

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Interjoint Coordination and the Personal Lift-Assist Device

Ryan B. Graham, Catherine L.W. Smallman, Erin M. Sadler, and Joan M. Stevenson

It has been suggested that interjoint coordination may serve to reduce joint stress and muscular demand and to maintain balance during dynamic lifting tasks, thus having implications for safe lifting practices. Before recommending the use of an on-body ergonomic aid, the Personal Lift-Assist Device (PLAD), it is important to determine any effects this device may have on interjoint coordination. Principal component analyses were applied to relative phase angle waveforms, defining the hip–knee and lumbar spine–hip coordination of 15 males and 15 females during a repetitive lifting task. When wearing the PLAD, users lifted with more synchronous hip–knee and lumbar spine–hip coordination patterns (P < .01). Furthermore, increases in load caused less synchronized interjoint coordination at both the hip–knee and lumbar spine–hip during the up and down phases of the lift (P < .01) for all conditions. No significant main effects of sex or significant interactions were observed on any of the outcome variables.

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Intra- and Interpersonal Movement Coordination in Jointly Moving a Rocking Board

Jurjen Bosga, Ruud G. J. Meulenbroek, and Raymond H. Cuijpers

In this study, we investigate how two persons (dyads) coordinate their movements when performing cyclical motion patterns on a rocking board. In keeping with the Leading Joint Hypothesis (Dounskaia, 2005), the movement dynamics of the collaborating participants were expected to display features of a prime mover with low movement variability. Fourteen subject pairs performed the task in nine amplitude-frequency combinations that were presented in the form of a to-be-tracked stimulus on a computer display. Participants were asked to track the stimulus by jointly rocking the Board sideways while receiving continuous visual feedback of its rotations. Displacements of 28 IREDS that were attached to the rocking board, both ankles, knees, hips, shoulders and heads of both actors, were sampled at 75 Hz by means of a 3D-motion tracking system. From these data, we derived body-segment angular excursions as well as the continuous relative phase and time-lagged cross-correlations between relevant joint excursions. The results show that, at the intrapersonal level, knee rotations initially led all other joints in time while the antiphase coordination between the knees displayed relative low variability. At the interpersonal level, dyads adopted a leader-follower strategy with respect to the coordination demands of the task. We take that knee rotations create a dynamic foundation at both intra- and interpersonal levels involving subordination of individual action to joint performance thereby allowing for low-dimensional control of joint action in a high-dimensional, repetitive motor task.

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Coordination Patterns of Foot Dynamics in the Control of Upright Standing

Zheng Wang, Kimberlee Jordan, and Karl M. Newell

In this study, two force platforms were synchronized to investigate the coordination of the right and left foot center of pressure (COPR and COPL) and its relation to the COPNET in the control of 5 upright postures with and without visual information. The results revealed that the standard deviation (SD) of COPL, COPR, and COPNET progressively increased in the more challenging staggered and tandem stances, respectively, and to a lesser degree with the absence of visual information. Circular analysis of the relative phase of COPL and COPR revealed that the coupling pattern and variability were dependent on postural stances and the availability of vision. A negative correlation between the variability of the relative phase of the two feet COPs and the SD of the COPNET in the anterior-posterior (AP) direction was evident most strongly in the no vision conditions. Thus, the asymmetry of the mechanical constraints on the feet as a function of stance organize the coordination patterns of the feet COPs while the degree of adaptive variation between the feet COPs is dependent on both the mechanical constraints and the availability of vision.

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The Role of Running Mileage on Coordination Patterns in Running

Katherine A. Boyer, Julia Freedman Silvernail, and Joseph Hamill

Injury rates among runners are high, with the knee injured most frequently. The interaction of running experience and running mechanics is not well understood but may be important for understanding relative injury risk in low vs higher mileage runners. The study aim was to apply a principal component analysis (PCA) to test the hypothesis that differences exist in kinematic waveforms and coordination between higher and low mileage groups. Gait data were collected for 50 subjects running at 3.5 m/s assigned to either a low (< 15 miles/wk) or higher (> 20 miles/wk, 1 year experience) mileage group. A PCA was performed on a matrix of trial vectors of all force, joint kinematic, and center of pressure data. The projection of the subjects’ trial vectors onto the linear combination of PC7, PC10, PC13, and PC19 was significantly different between the higher and lower mileage groups (d = 0.63, P = .012). This resultant PC represented variation in transverse plane pelvic rotation, hip internal rotation, and hip and knee abduction and adduction angles. These results suggest the coordination of lower extremity segment kinematics is different for lower and higher mileage runners. The adopted patterns of coordinated motion may explain the lower incidence of overuse knee injuries for higher mileage runners.

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Effects of Fatigue on Intermuscular Coordination during Repetitive Hammering

Julie N. Côté, Anatol G. Feldman, Pierre A. Mathieu, and Mindy F. Levin

Fatigue affects the capacity of muscles to generate forces and is associated with characteristic changes in EMG signals. It may also influence interjoint and intermuscular coordination. To understand better the global effects of fatigue on multijoint movement, we studied movement kinematics and EMG changes in healthy volunteers asked to hammer repetitively. Movement kinematics and the activity of 20 muscles of the arm, trunk, and leg were recorded before and after subjects became fatigued (as measured using a Borg scale). When fatigue was reached, maximal grip strength and elbow range of motion decreased while the EMG amplitude of the contralateral external oblique muscle was increased. Fatigue did not affect shoulder and wrist kinematics or movement frequency. Results suggest that fatigue influences motion at both local and global levels. Specifically, interjoint and intermuscular coordination adapt to compensate for local effects of fatigue and to maintain key movement characteristics, such as the trajectory of the end effector and the movement frequency. Nonlocal compensations may be a focus of future studies of how fatigue affects complex movements such as those typically performed in the workplace.

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The Development of Period Correction Processes in Motor Coordination: Adaptation to Temporal Perturbation

David Clizbe and Nancy Getchell

The third in a series of studies investigating the development of multilimb coordination in children, this study investigates the ability to period correct, or resynchronize limbs after a temporal perturbation. Participants performed single (clap, walk) and dual (simultaneously clap and walk) motor tasks to a metronome, which was randomly perturbed (either increase or decrease in speed). In the walk/metronome coupling, a significant interaction existed in relative phase error between age group and cycle with less relative phase error on the third and forth cycle with increased age. In the clap/metronome, a main effect existed for cycle (increasing with cycle) and age (decreasing with age), but no interactions existed. Neither task (single or dual) nor direction of perturbation (speed increase/decrease) had a statistical effect. The results suggested that developmental trajectories may exist in period correction processes; further research examining continuous data over longer collection periods should be performed to confirm this finding.

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Effect of Robot–Child Interactions on Bilateral Coordination Skills of Typically Developing Children and a Child With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Preliminary Study

Maninderjit Kaur, Timothy Gifford, Kerry L. Marsh, and Anjana Bhat


Coordination develops gradually over development with younger children showing more unstable coordination patterns compared to older children and adults. In addition, children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) display significant coordination impairments. In the current study, we examined whether robot–child interactions could improve bilateral coordination skills of typically developing (TD) children and one child with ASD.


Fourteen TD children between four and seven years of age and an 11-year-old child with ASD performed dual-limb and multilimb actions within a solo and social context during a pre- and posttest. Between the pre- and posttests, eight training sessions were offered across four weeks during a robot imitation context involving karate and dance actions.


Younger TD children and the child with ASD improved their solo coordination whereas the older TD children increased their social coordination.


This preliminary study lacked a control group.


Robot–child interactions may facilitate bilateral coordination and could be a promising intervention tool for children with ASDs.

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Coordination of Reaching in Children with Spastic Hemiparetic Cerebral Palsy under Different Task Demands

Annieck X.C. Ricken, Simon J. Bennett, and Geert J.P. Savelsbergh

Coordination of reaching with the impaired and non-impaired arm in 10 children with spastic hemiparetic cerebral palsy (SHCP) was examined in a stationary ball and moving ball context. Kinematic data on trunk, arm, and wrist movements, and coordination patterns between joint angles of elbow, shoulder, and trunk, were analyzed to determine how reaching was influenced by impairment and object motion. Results showed longer deceleration time and movement time and greater trunk contribution following decreased elbow and shoulder excursion when reaching with the impaired arm compared to the non-impaired arm. The coordination of joint angle pairs showed little linearity for the impaired arm, indicating more segmented movements of shoulder and elbow. It was also found that coordination patterns between elbow, shoulder, and trunk displayed less similarity when reaching with the impaired arm compared to the non-impaired arm in both stationary and moving ball conditions. Regardless of the timing constraints, children with SHCP could make successful interceptions using the impaired arm, indicating that they coordinated and controlled the degrees of freedom within their own functional possibilities.