Performance analysis of rhythmic unimanual and bimanual wrist coordination tasks

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University of New Brunswick


This research sought to provide a more in-depth understanding of the coordination of rhythmic actions resulting from self-organizing behaviours through the Haken-Kelso-Bunz model (HKB model) and how the central nervous system affects the resulting behaviour of rhythmic tasks. Four hypotheses tested the aspects of the HKB model. The first addresses the differences between the dominant and nondominant limb's ability to maintain a rhythm task. The second and third hypotheses focused on how the contralateral limb affected task performance. Fourth, couplings between limbs and the metronome were assessed to determine which one is dominant. Twenty participants between the ages of 19-30 (17 Right-handed, 3 Left-handed) were asked to complete six different rhythmic wrist coordination tasks (4 single-limb and two double-limb), each increasing step-wise in frequency with a metronome. Relative phase variance was used to compare each task's performance, with low variance indicating increased performance. We were unable to discriminate between the presence of either one or two oscillators at the spinal level from the results. This is in part due to a two-oscillator being unable to describe the results solely. This research implies that the differences between one and two-oscillators at the behaviour level are not as evident as initially hypothesized. Therefore, more sophisticated measurement techniques should be implemented when analyzing the central nervous system's oscillator layout.