Task dynamics and resource dynamics in the assembly of a coordinated rhythmic activity

J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 1991 May;17(2):359-81. doi: 10.1037//0096-1523.17.2.359.


Task dynamics corresponding to rhythmic movements emerge from interactions among dynamical resources composed of the musculature, the link segments, and the nervous and circulatory systems. This article investigated whether perturbations of interlimb coordination might be effect over circulatory and nervous elements. Stiffness of wrist-pendulums oscillated at a common tempo and at 180 degrees relative phase was perturbed through the use of tonic activity about an ankle. Left and right stiffnesses, the common period, and the phase relation all changed. Stiffnesses increased with ankle torque in proportion to the wrist's inertial load. Despite different changes in stiffness at the two wrists, isochrony was preserved. The stability was shown to be consistent with the proportionality of changes in stiffness to the inertial loads. The phase departed from antiphase in proportion to the asymmetry of inertial loads. The size of departures decreased with increasing ankle torque. An account was developed in terms of muscular, circulatory, and nervous functions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ankle Joint / physiology
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Joints / physiology*
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Psychophysics
  • Wrist Joint / physiology