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Developmental changes in unimanual and bimanual aiming movements
The aim of this study was twofold: (a) analyze the development of reaction time (RT) and movement time (MT) for bimanual and unimanual movements and (b) investigate the interaction of age and sex on the changes in RT and MT. Participants (5-, 8-, and 11-year-olds) were asked to aim at target buttons under three conditions of movement: unimanual, bimanual symmetrical, and bimanual nonsymmetrical. As expected, RTs for bimanual symmetrical movements were shorter than RTs for unimanual and bimanual nonsymmetrical movements in the 5-year-olds. By the age of 8, bimanual nonsymmetrical movements still yielded longer RTs than unimanual and bimanual symmetrical movements, which no longer differed from each other. Regarding MT, in the 2 younger groups there was an advantage of unimanual over bimanual symmetrical movements. The latter were executed faster than nonsymmetrical movements at all ages. These results suggest that the evolution of RT and MT with age reflects development of interhemispheric transfer of information. It appears that the functional improvement of such transfer, which depends on the corpus callosum, progressively enables contralateral motor inhibition and the coordination of complex bilateral movements. The exchange of movement feedback information could mature more slowly than that of feed-forward information, explaining the extended time course of MT evolution.
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