Indexed on: 09 May '12Published on: 09 May '12Published in: Experimental Brain Research
The purpose of the present study was to investigate whether difficulties in bimanual grasp posture planning arise from conflicts in response selection. Forty-five participants were assigned to one of three groups (symbolic cueing, semi-symbolic cueing, and direct cueing) and instructed to reach for, grasp, and place two objects on a board in various end-orientations, depending on condition. In general, the tendency to adopt initial grasps that resulted in end-state comfort was significantly higher for the semi-symbolic, than that for the other two groups. There were, however, noticeable individual differences in grip behavior in the symbolic and direct cueing groups. Although the majority of participants performed the task in a similar fashion to the semi-symbolic group, there was a subset of participants (40% in each group) who grasped the two objects using an overhand grip in virtually all trials, regardless of condition. It is hypothesized that the observed individual differences in grasp posture strategy arise from differences in motor planning abilities, or the strategies participants employ in order to comply with task demands. A secondary finding is that the degree of interlimb coupling was larger for congruent, than incongruent, conditions irrespective of stimulus cueing. This finding indicates that the interference in the execution of bimanual grasping and placing tasks arises from interference during the specification of movement parameters specific to planning and execution of bimanual movements, or neuronal cross-talk in efferent pathways, rather than response selection conflicts.