Do muscles matter for coordinated action?

Franz Mechsner, Giinther Knoblich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


This article investigates coordination stability when 2 fingers of each hand periodically tap together. The main question concerns the functional origin of the symmetry tendency, which has widely been conceived as a bias toward coactivation of homologous fingers and homologous muscular portions. In Experiment 1, the symmetry tendency was independent of finger combination. In Experiment 2, virtually identical stability characteristics were revealed under full vision and no vision. In Experiment 3, symmetrical and parallel visual labels on the fingers neither stabilized nor destabilized symmetrical and parallel tapping patterns. In Experiment 4, in which the relative position of the hands was varied, it revealed that the observed stability characteristics are to be defined in a hand-centered reference frame. Because the symmetry tendency was always independent of finger combination, the authors suggest that it is not a bias toward coactivation of homologous muscle portions but instead originates on a more abstract, functional level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-503
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004


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