Effect of visual feedback on learning of a 2:1 isometric bimanual coordination pattern



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The primary purpose of this study was to examine if the coupling effect could be overcome in a bimanual isometric tracking task, using methods similar to those of the Kovacs et al. team in previous bimanual kinematic research. Thirty right-handed participants, with a mean age 22.5 (SD 3.5) years, free from any neurological disorder or physical ailment, were randomly assigned to one of three groups that differed in percent of feedback provided during the practice trials (100%, 50% or 0%). The participants then performed a bimanual isometric manipulation tracking task that was a 2:1 rhythm (backwards C shape) scaled to 30% maximum voluntary contraction (MVC). Participants performed five blocks of five trials with the feedback schedule assigned to their group, rested for 30 minutes, then performed a retention task. Significant differences (p<.05) in Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) occurred between the 100% group and both the 50% and 0% groups during the practice blocks. Significant differences (p<.05) also occurred between the 50% group and the 100% and 0% group for the first four practice blocks. Though differences occurred between the groups during the practice trials, no differences occurred between the groups during the retention block. These findings support the position that the coupling effect in bimanual isometric manipulation tasks is very strong and cannot be as easily overcome as it is in kinematic bimanual task. This may be due to the feedback systems used in isometric conditions versus kinematic tasks (i.e. force and pressure sensation vs. position and motion proprioception).