Interlimb transfer of visuomotor rotations depends on handedness

Exp Brain Res. 2006 Nov;175(2):223-30. doi: 10.1007/s00221-006-0543-2. Epub 2006 May 30.


We previously reported that opposite arm adaptation to visuomotor rotations improved the initial direction of right arm movements in right-handers, whereas it only improved the final position accuracy of their left arm movements. We now investigate the pattern of interlimb transfer following adaptation to 30 degrees visuomotor rotations in left-handers to determine whether the direction of transfer depends on handedness. Our results indicate unambiguous transfer across the arms. In terms of final position accuracy, the direction of transfer is opposite to that observed in right-handers, such that transfer only occurred from the left to the right arm movements. Directional accuracy also showed the opposite pattern of transfer to that of right-handers: initial movement direction, calculated at peak tangential acceleration, transferred only from right to left arms. When movement direction was measured later in the movement, at peak tangential velocity, asymmetrical transfer also occurred, such that greater transfer occurred from right to left arms. However, a small, but significant influence of opposite arm adaptation also occurred for the left arm, which might reflect differences in the use of the nondominant arm between left- and right-handers. Overall, our results indicate that left-handers show a mirror-imaged pattern of interlimb transfer in visuomotor adaptation to that previously reported for right-handers. This pattern of transfer is consistent with the hypothesis that asymmetry in interlimb transfer is dependent on differential specialization of the dominant and nondominant hemisphere/limb systems for trajectory and positional control, respectively.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Extremities / physiology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Rotation*
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Transfer, Psychology / physiology*