Memory for fingertip forces: passive hand muscle vibration interferes with predictive grip force scaling

Exp Brain Res. 2004 Jun;156(4):444-50. doi: 10.1007/s00221-003-1801-1. Epub 2004 Jan 13.


When subjects repetitively lift an object, the grip force they select is influenced by the mechanical object properties of the preceding lift. Similar effects on grip force scaling are observed whether the subsequent lift is performed with the same hand or the hand contralateral to the preceding lift. Here we demonstrate that passive vibration of the hand muscles involved in the generation of grip force in the interval between two blocks of lifting trials interferes with predictive grip force scaling. Following ten trials in which subjects lifted an object with constant mechanical properties with the dominant hand, muscle vibration was given to the first interosseus and adductor pollicis muscles of the dominant hand during a 10-min rest period. Compared with the last lift preceding vibration, peak rates of grip force increase and peak grip forces were scaled too high during the first lift following vibration whether the lift was made with the dominant or non-dominant hand. Subjects scaled grip force accurately to the object properties within three lifts following vibration. If subjects rested for 10 min after the first ten trials and received no vibration, then there was no significant difference in the peak grip force or its rate of increase between the last lift preceding rest and the first lift following it. We suggest that vibration impairs the memory processes responsible for predictive grip force scaling. Our data are consistent with the recent suggestion that these memory processes are neither specific for a certain motor action nor do they reflect internal representations of mechanical object properties.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Afferent Pathways / physiology
  • Female
  • Fingers / innervation
  • Fingers / physiology
  • Hand / innervation
  • Hand / physiology*
  • Hand Strength / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Models, Neurological
  • Movement / physiology
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / innervation
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Proprioception / physiology
  • Touch / physiology
  • Vibration / adverse effects*
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology