Rightward Biases during Bimanual Reaching
Experimental Brain Research
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Two experiments were carried out to investigate whether attention is biased toward the right hand of right handers during bimanual coordination (Peters 1981). A novel discontinuous double-step reaching task was developed, where right-handed participants executed a bimanual reach followed by a left or right hand unimanual reach. Asymmetries in the downtime between the bimanual and unimanual reach portions (the refractory period) were used to infer the direction of attention. A shorter right hand refractory period was found in the first experiment, indicating a rightward bias in attention. In a second experiment, shifting the focus of attention during the bimanual portion of the reach altered the direction and magnitude of the asymmetry in a way consistent with the attentional bias hypothesis. The role of attention during bimanual reaching, and a further programme of experimental work aimed at clarifying the nature of these rightward biases during discrete bimanual coordination is discussed.