Rhythmical bimanual force production: homologous and non‑homologous muscles
The experiment was designed to determine participants’ ability to coordinate a bimanual multifrequency pattern of isometric forces using homologous or non-homologous muscles. Lissajous feedback was provided to reduce perceptual and attentional constraints. The primary purpose was to determine whether the activation of homologous and non-homologous muscles resulted in different patterns of distortions in the left limb forces that are related to the forces produced by the right limb. The task was to rhythmically produce a 1:2 pattern of isometric forces by exerting isometric forces on the left side force transducer with the left arm that was coordinated with the pattern of isometric forces produced on the right side force transducer with the right arm. The results indicated that participants were able to ‘tune-in’ a 1:2 coordination patterns using homologous (triceps muscles of the left and right limbs) and using non-homologous muscles (biceps left limb and triceps right limb) when provided Lissajous feedback. However, distinct but consistent and identifiable distortions in the left limb force traces were observed for both the homologous and non-homologous tasks. For the homologous task, the interference occurred in the left limb when the right limb was initiating and releasing force. For the non-homologous task, the interference in the left limb force occurred only when the right limb was releasing force. In both conditions, the interference appeared to continue from the point of force initiation and/or release to peak force velocity. The overall results are consistent with the notion that neural crosstalk manifests differently during the coordination of the limbs depending upon whether homologous or non-homologous muscles are activated.