Pattern switching in human multilimb coordination dynamics

Bull Math Biol. 1993;55(4):829-45. doi: 10.1007/BF02460675.


A relative phase model of four coupled oscillators is used to interpret experiments on the coordination between rhythmically moving human limbs. The pairwise coupling functions in the model are motivated by experiments on two-limb coordination. Stable patterns of coordination between the limbs are represented by fixed points in relative phase coordinates. Four invariant circles exist in the model, each containing two patterns of coordination seen experimentally. The direction of switches between two four-limb patterns on the same circle can be understood in terms of two-limb coordination. Transitions between patterns in the human four-limb system are theoretically interpreted as bifurcations in a nonlinear dynamical system.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arm
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Hominidae / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Leg
  • Locomotion*
  • Mathematics
  • Models, Biological*
  • Movement