A Dynamic Systems Approach to the Effects of Aging on Bimanual Coordination

  • Temprado Jean-Jacques
  • Vercruysse Sarah
  • Salesse Robin
  • Berton Eric


The present study examined the effects of aging on the execution of a bimanual coordination task in a classical phase transition paradigm in which coordination patterns (in-phase and anti-phase) and movement frequency were manipulated. Two groups of adults, the so-called young (average age 26 years) and old (average age 71 years) participants, performed both in-phase and anti-phase patterns at different frequencies. As we expected variability of relative phase was larger for older participants than for younger ones for both the in-phase and the anti-phase coordination patterns. Moreover, phase transitions occurred at lower frequencies for older participants and more transitions were observed for older than for younger participants. Although no specific hypotheses were made about the prominent source(s) of age-related changes in coordination dynamics (i.e., an alteration in the coupling function and/or an increase of the magnitude of noise), our results suggest that these changes might result from increases in the (neural) noise to be found in the (bimanual) action system. Copyright (C) 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel