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Keywords:

  • bimanual coordination;
  • left hander;
  • motor control

Abstract

The ease with which humans are able to perform symmetric movements of both hands has traditionally been attributed to the preference of the motor system to activate homologous muscles. Recently, we have shown in right-handers, however, that bimanual index finger adduction and abduction movements in incongruous hand orientations (one palm down/other up) preferentially engaged parietal perception-associated brain areas. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate the influence of hand orientation in left-handers on cerebral activation during bimanual index finger movements. Performance in incongruous orientation of either hand yielded activations involving right and left motor cortex, supplementary motor area in right superior frontal gyrus (SMA and pre-SMA), bilateral premotor cortex, prefrontal cortex, bilateral somatosensory cortex and anterior parietal cortex along the intraparietal sulcus. In addition, the occipito-temporal cortex corresponding to human area MT (hMT) in either hemisphere was activated in relation to bimanual index finger movements in the incongruous hand orientation as compared with the same movements in the congruous hand orientation or with simply viewing the pacing stimuli. Comparison with the same movement condition in right-handed subjects from a former study support these hMT activations exclusively for left-handed subjects. These results suggest that left-handers use visual motion imagery in guiding incongruous bimanual finger movements.