Bimanual Reaching across the Hemispace: Which Hand Is Yoked to Which?
Brain and Cognition
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When both hands perform concurrent goal-directed reaches, they become yoked to one another. To investigate the direction of this coupling (i.e., which hand is yoked to which), the temporal dynamics of bimanual reaches were compared with equivalent-amplitude unimanual reaches. These reaches were to target pairs located on either the left or right sides of space; meaning that in the bimanual condition, one hand's contralateral (more difficult) reach accompanied by the other hand's ipsilateral (easier) reach. By comparing which hand's difficult reach was improved more by the presence of the other hand's easier ipsilateral reach, we were able to demonstrate asymmetries in the coupling. When the cost of bimanual reaching was controlled for the contralateral reaching left hand's performance was improved, suggesting that the left hand is yoked to the right during motor output. In contrast, the right hand showed the greatest improvements for contralateral reaching in terms of reaction time, pointing toward a dominant role for the left hand in the processes prior to movement onset. The results may point toward a mechanism for integrating the unitary system of attention with bimanual coordination.