The coupled oscillator model of between-hand coordination in alternate-hand tapping: a reappraisal

J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 2001 Apr;27(2):251-65. doi: 10.1037//0096-1523.27.2.251.


Single and alternating hand tapping were compared to test the hypothesis that coordination during rhythmic movements is mediated by the control of specific time intervals. In Experiment 1, an auditory metronome was used to indicate a set of timing patterns in which a 1-s interval was divided into 2 subintervals. Performance, measured in terms of the deviation from the target patterns and variability, was similar under conditions in which the finger taps were made with 1 hand or alternated between the 2 hands. In Experiment 2, the modality of the metronome (auditory or visual) was found to influence the manner in which the produced intervals deviated from the target patterns. These results challenge the notion that bimanual coordination emerges from coupling constraints intrinsic to the 2-hand system. They are in accord with a framework that emphasizes the control of specific time intervals to form a series of well-defined motor events.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Hand / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Time Factors