Immediate compensation for variations in self-generated Coriolis torques related to body dynamics and carried objects

J Neurophysiol. 2013 Sep;110(6):1370-84. doi: 10.1152/jn.00104.2012. Epub 2013 Jun 26.


We have previously shown that the Coriolis torques that result when an arm movement is performed during torso rotation do not affect movement trajectory. Our purpose in the present study was to examine whether torso motion-induced Coriolis and other interaction torques are counteracted during a turn and reach (T&R) movement when the effective mass of the hand is augmented, and whether the dominant arm has an advantage in coordinating intersegmental dynamics as predicted by the dynamic dominance hypothesis (Sainburg RL. Exp Brain Res 142: 241-258, 2002). Subjects made slow and fast T&R movements in the dark to just extinguished targets with either arm, while holding or not holding a 454-g object. Movement endpoints were equally accurate at both speeds, with either hand, and in both weight conditions, but subjects tended to angularly undershoot and produce more variable endpoints for targets requiring greater torso rotation. There were no changes in endpoint accuracy or trajectory deviation over repeated movements. The dominant right arm was more stable in its control of trajectory direction across targets, whereas the nondominant left arm had an improved ability to stop accurately on the target for higher levels of interaction torques. The trajectories to more eccentric targets were straighter when performed at higher speeds but slightly more deviated when subjects held the weight. Subjects did not slow their torso velocity or change the timing of the arm and torso velocities when holding the weight, although there was a slight decrease in their hand velocity relative to the torso. The delay between the onsets of torso and finger movements was almost twice as large for the right arm than the left, suggesting the right arm was better able to account for torso rotation in the arm movement. Holding the weight increased the peak Coriolis torque by 40% at the shoulder and 45% at the elbow and, for the most eccentric target, increased the peak net torque by 12% at the shoulder and 34% at the elbow. In accordance with Sainburg's dynamic dominance hypothesis, the right arm exhibited an advantage for coordinating intersegmental dynamics, showing a more stable finger velocity in relation to the torso across targets, decreasing error variability with movement speed, and more synchronized peaks of finger relative and torso angular velocities in conditions with greater joint torque requirements. The arm used had little effect on the movement path and the magnitude of the joint torques in any of the conditions. These results indicate that compensations for forthcoming Coriolis torque variations take into account the dynamic properties of the body and of external objects, as well as the planned velocities of the torso and arm.

Keywords: coordination; human; interaction torques; inverse dynamics; reaching movement kinematics.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arm / physiology
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Coriolis Force*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Torque*
  • Torso / physiology