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A kinematic analysis of hand selection in a reaching task

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A group of left- and right-handers was tested on a task requiring them to reach out and pick up an object with either the left or the right hand. We varied the eccentricity of the target object (a small glass) and the required accuracy level, by filling the glass with liquid. We recorded (a) frequency of left or right hand use, (b) hand preference using a handedness questionnaire, and (c) the trajectories of the reaches using a movement registration system. It was found that the stronger the hand preference, the further in contralateral space the shift occurred between left and right hand use. Not only did the transition point corresponding to the shift between the two hands correlate with the point where their deceleration times were equal, but these locations closely coincided. These findings suggest that people are highly skilled perceivers of their own action capabilities, and that they are able to select the action mode that is most suited to perform a given task. We argue that laterality should be understood in terms of asymmetries in action modes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-367
Number of pages21
JournalLaterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition
Volume6
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2001

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