We explored changes in the cyclical two-finger force performance task caused by turning visual feedback off performed either by the index and middle fingers of the dominant hand or by two index fingers of two persons. Based on an earlier study, we expected drifts in finger force amplitude and midpoint without a drift in relative phase. The subjects performed two rhythmical tasks at 1 Hz while paced by an auditory metronome. One of the tasks required cyclical changes in total force magnitude without changes in the sharing of the force between the two fingers. The other task required cyclical changes in the force sharing without changing total force magnitude. Subjects were provided with visual feedback, which showed total force magnitude and force sharing via cursor motion along the vertical and horizontal axes, respectively. Further, visual feedback was turned off, first on the variable that was not required to change and then on both variables. Turning visual feedback off led to a mean force drift toward lower magnitudes while force amplitude increased. There was a consistent drift in the relative phase in the one-hand task with the index finger leading the middle finger. No consistent relative phase drift was seen in the two-person tasks. The shape of the force cycle changed without visual feedback reflected in the lower similarity to a perfect cosine shape and in the higher time spent at lower force magnitudes. The data confirm findings of earlier studies regarding force amplitude and midpoint changes, but falsify predictions of an earlier proposed model with respect to the relative phase changes. We discuss factors that could contribute to the observed relative phase drift in the one-hand tasks including the leader–follower pattern generalized for two-effector tasks performed by one person.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes