Visual spatial information is paramount in guiding bimanual coordination, but anatomical factors, too, modulate performance in bimanual tasks. Vision conveys not only abstract spatial information, but also informs about body-related aspects such as posture. Here, we asked whether, accordingly, visual information induces body-related, or merely abstract, perceptual-spatial constraints in bimanual movement guidance. Human participants made rhythmic, symmetrical and parallel, bimanual index finger movements with the hands held in the same or different orientations. Performance was more accurate for symmetrical than parallel movements in all postures, but additionally when homologous muscles were concurrently active, such as when parallel movements were performed with differently rather than identically oriented hands. Thus, both perceptual and anatomical constraints were evident. We manipulated visual feedback with a mirror between the hands, replacing the image of the right with that of the left hand and creating the visual impression of bimanual symmetry independent of the right hand’s true movement. Symmetrical mirror feedback impaired parallel, but improved symmetrical bimanual performance compared with regular hand view. Critically, these modulations were independent of hand posture and muscle homology. Thus, visual feedback appears to contribute exclusively to spatial, but not to body-related, anatomical movement coding in the guidance of bimanual coordination.
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