Rapid feedback corrections during a bimanual postural task

J Neurophysiol. 2013 Jan;109(1):147-61. doi: 10.1152/jn.00669.2011. Epub 2012 Oct 10.


An important observation in motor physiology is that even the fastest feedback responses can be modified in a task-dependent manner. However, whether or not such responses in one limb can be modulated based on online sensory feedback from other limbs is still unknown. We tested this using a bimanual postural control task, in which the two hands either controlled two separate cursors (double-cursor task) or a single cursor displayed at the spatial average between the hands (single-cursor task). In the first experiment, the two hands were symmetrically perturbed outwards. In the double-cursor task, the participants therefore had to return their hands to the targets, whereas in the single-cursor task no correction was necessary. Within 50 ms, the electromyographic activity showed significantly smaller responses in the single- compared with the double-cursor task. In the second experiment, the perturbation direction of the left hand (inward/outward) was randomized, such that participants could not preplan their response before perturbation onset. Results show that the behavior of the right arm in the one-cursor task depended on online feedback coming from the left arm: the muscular response was modulated within 75 ms based on directionally specific information of the left arm. These results suggest that sensory feedback from one limb can quickly modify the perturbation response of another limb in a task-dependent manner.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arm / physiology
  • Electromyography
  • Feedback, Sensory / physiology*
  • Female
  • Hand / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Movement / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology