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Psychological Research PRPF

, Volume 73, Issue 5, pp 727–740

First Online: 06 November 2008Received: 29 April 2008Accepted: 01 October 2008


In tool use, the intended external goals have to be transformed into bodily movements by taking into account the target-to-movement mapping implemented by the tool. In bimanual tool use, this mapping may depend on the part of the tool that is operated and the effector used e.g. the left and right hand at the handle bar moving in opposite directions in order to generate the same bicycle movement. In our study, we investigated whether participants represent the behaviour of the tool or only the effector-specific mapping when using two-handed tools. In three experiments, participants touched target locations with a two-jointed lever, using either the left or the right hand. In one condition, the joint of the lever was constant and switching between hands was associated with switching the target-to-movement-mapping, whereas in another condition, switching between hands was associated with switching the joint, but the target-to-movement-mapping remained constant. Results indicate pronounced costs of switching hands in the condition with constant joint, whereas they were smaller with constant target-to-movement mapping. These results suggest that participants have tool-independent representations of the effector-specific mappings.

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Author: Arvid Herwig - Cristina Massen


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