Modeling rhythmic interlimb coordination: The roles of movement amplitude and time delays

Institute for Fundamental and Clinical Human Movement Sciences, Faculty of Human Movement Sciences, Vrije Universiteit, Van der Boechorststraat 9, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Human Movement Science (Impact Factor: 1.6). 06/1999; 18(2):263-280. DOI: 10.1016/S0167-9457(99)00011-1


Rhythmic interlimb coordination is characterized by attraction to stable phase and frequency relations. Sudden transitions between the resulting coordination patterns, which are observed when movement frequency is gradually increased, have been modeled at two formally related levels: a potential function and a system of coupled oscillators. At the latter level of the model, two alternative derivations resulted in different predictions with respect to the way in which movement frequency and amplitude affect pattern stability. Our recent results contradicted the prevailing version of the model, which predicts that the influence of movement frequency is fully mediated by the associated changes in amplitude. Although the results could be reconciled with the alternative derivation of the model in which time delays (possibly related to neurophysiological delays) were incorporated, the absence of amplitude-mediated effects on pattern stability challenges both versions of the model. It is argued that by studying coordination dynamics at the level of the potential function as well as at the level of coupled oscillators, new insights into the way in which control parameters influence pattern dynamics may be obtained. This may open up ways to link the coordination dynamics to specific characteristics of the movements of the limbs and the way in which they interact.PsycINFO classification: 2300; 2330

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Available from: C. (Lieke) E Peper, Dec 22, 2013
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    • "The aim of the study was to examine whether the strength of unintended phase entrainment is influenced (predominantly) by movement amplitude as such or by the amplitude relation between the hands. The results showed that phase entrainment strength was not influenced by amplitude as such, contrary to expectations based on the HKB-model, according to which overall interlimb coupling strength scales with amplitude (Haken et al., 1985; Peper & Beek, 1999). Rather, the previously obtained effects of movement amplitude on entrainment strength (Ridderikhoff et al., 2005) appear to have been mediated by the asymmetry in amplitude between the hands, in accordance with coupling strength effects obtained for intentional "
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    ABSTRACT: In the current study, we examined whether coupling influences resulting from unintended afference-based phase entrainment are affected by movement amplitude as such or by the amplitude relation between the limbs. We assessed entrainment strength by studying how passive movements of the contralateral hand influenced unimanual coordination with a metronome. Results showed that amplitude as such did not affect entrainment strength, whereas the amplitude relation between the hands did. Larger amplitudes of the passive hand relative to the active hand resulted in stronger entrainment. This dependence on relative amplitude implies that entrainment strength is not only based on the intensity of afferent signals generated in the entraining limb but also on the susceptibility of the entrained limb to these signals.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Motor control
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    • "However , the findings show that the stability of coordination patterns was not fully based on the inverse relation between movement frequency and amplitude. Even when participants were instructed to maintain the required amplitude, loss of stability of the initial pattern and phase transitions has been observed (Peper and Beek, 1999). Peper and Beek assumed that changing the spatiotemporal characteristics of coordination, by means of specific instructions with respect to amplitude of movements, does not alter the coordination dynamics. "
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    ABSTRACT: Interactions between rhythmically moving limbs typically result in attraction to a limited number of coordination modes, which are distinguished in terms of their stability. In addition, the stability of coordination typically decreases with elevations in movement frequency. To gain more insight into the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying these stability characteristics, the effects of phasic voluntary muscle activation onto the movement pattern of the contralateral limb as well as onto the stability of interlimb coordination were examined. This was done in circumstances in which a minimal degree of movement-elicited afferent information was available to mediate the coupling influences. The task involved rhythmic application of isometric torque by one hand, while the other hand was moving rhythmically with unconstrained amplitude. The effects of two levels of applied torque, two coordination patterns (inphase and antiphase), and two movement frequencies were determined, both at the behavioural level (movement kinematics and kinetics) and the neuromuscular level (EMG). The isometric applications of torque clearly influenced the muscle-activation profile and movement pattern of the other limb, affecting both temporal variability and amplitude. Surprisingly, there were no differences between the two coordination patterns or between the tempo conditions. As such, the results did not conform to the Haken-Kelso-Bunz model for rhythmic movement coordination. These data suggest that the archetypal differences in stability of rhythmic bimanual coordination are contingent upon a correspondence between the limbs in terms of their respective tasks. This interpretation is elaborated in terms of the role of sensory feedback and the functional specificity of motor unit recruitment in rhythmic interlimb coordination.
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