Dynamical Substructure of Coordinated Rhythmic Movements

R. C. Schmidt*, P. J. Beek, P. J. Treffner, M. T. Turvey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


A coordinated rhythmic movement pattern is a dynamical activity involving many hidden layers of rhythmic subtasks. To investigate this dynamical substructure, spectroscopic concepts and methods were applied to an interlimb rhythmic movement task requiring 1:1 frequency locking of two hand-held pendulums in 180° phase relation. The pendulums could be of identical or very different dimensions, thereby providing different values of the ratio Ω of uncoupled frequencies. Analyses focused on the power spectrum of continuous relative phase as a function of variation in Ω. Predictions were derived from the theories of mode locking and fractal time. Experimental results were in agreement with theoretical expectations and were discussed in terms of the possible recruiting of rhythmic subtasks in the assembling of interlimb absolute coordination, the interdependence of these subtasks, and the general dynamical principles that relate coordinative processes occurring at different length and time scales.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-651
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1991


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