We tested a hypothesis that humans can change patterns of finger force covariation in a task-specific manner in preparation to a change in the total force. Subjects performed quick targeted force pulses by pressing with four fingers on force sensors from a certain background force level to a target level. In self-paced trials, finger force modes (hypothetical commands to fingers) showed changes in covariation, computed across trials, more than 100 ms before changes in the total force. Half of the subjects showed large early changes in force mode covariation, while in the other half these changes were much smaller and were followed by a larger positive covariation of finger modes potentially destabilizing the total force profile. Such early covariation changes were absent under the simple reaction time instruction. We conclude that anticipatory covariation reflects control processes that can be expressed differently in different persons and modified depending on the available time for action preparation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes