There is a growing consensus regarding the specialization of the non-dominant limb (NDL)/hemisphere system to employ proprioceptive feedback when executing motor actions. In a wide variety of rhythmic tasks the dominant limb (DL) has advantages in speed and timing consistency over the NDL. Recently, we demonstrated that the application of Kinesio® Tex (KT) tape, an elastic therapeutic device used for treating athletic injuries, improves significantly the timing consistency of isochronous wrist’s flexion-extensions (IWFEs) of the DL. We argued that the augmented precision of IWFEs is determined by a more efficient motor control during movements due to the extra-proprioceptive effect provided by KT.
In this study, we tested the effect of KT on timing precision of IWFEs performed with the DL and the NDL, and we evaluated the efficacy of KT to counteract possible timing precision difference between limbs. Young healthy subjects performed with and without KT (NKT) a synchronization-continuation task in which they first entrained IWFEs to paced auditory stimuli (synchronization phase), and subsequently continued to produce motor responses with the same temporal interval in the absence of the auditory stimulus (continuation phase). Two inter-onset intervals (IOIs) of 550-ms and 800-ms, one within and the other beyond the boundaries of the spontaneous motor tempo, were tested. Kinematics was recorded and temporal parameters were extracted and analyzed.
Our results show that limb advantages in performing proficiently rhythmic movements are not side-locked but depend also on speed of movement. The application of KT significantly reduces the timing variability of IWFEs performed at 550-ms IOI. KT not only cancels the disadvantages of the NDL but also makes it even more precise than the DL without KT. The superior sensitivity of the NDL to use the extra-sensory information provided by KT is attributed to a greater competence of the NDL/hemisphere system to rely on sensory input.
The findings in this study add a new piece of information to the context of motor timing literature. The performance asymmetries here demonstrated as preferred temporal environments could reflect limb differences in the choice of sensorimotor control strategies for the production of human movement.