Effect of Kinetic Degrees of Freedom on Hierarchical Organization of Multi-element Synergies during Force Production and Releasing Tasks

  • Kim, Kitae (Department of Physical Education, Seoul National University) ;
  • Song, Junkyung (Department of Physical Education, Seoul National University) ;
  • Park, Jaebum (Department of Physical Education, Seoul National University)
  • Received : 2020.04.13
  • Accepted : 2020.07.01
  • Published : 2020.06.30


Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of degrees of freedom on the multi-synergies in two hierarchies of human hand system during force production and releasing tasks. Method: In this study, the constrained movements of the aiming and releasing actions using both hands and fingers during archery-like shooting were implemented as experimental tasks. The participants produced a pulling force holding the customized frame (mimicking an archery bow, with a set of force transducers) and kept it consistently for about 5 seconds, and released fingers as quickly as possible in a self-paced manner within the next 5 seconds. An analytical method based on the uncontrolled manifold hypothesis was used to quantify the stability index (synergy index) in two hierarchies including two hands (upper hierarchy) and individual fingers (lower hierarchy). Results: The results confirmed that the positive synergy pattern showed simultaneously at the upper and lower hierarchies, and the kinetic degrees of freedom were associated with the increment of hierarchical synergy indices and the performance indices. Also, the synergy indices of both hierarchies showed significant positive correlations with the performance accuracy during the task. Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that the human control system actively uses extra degrees of freedom to stabilize task performance variables. Further increasing the degree of freedom at one level of hierarchy induces positive interactions across hierarchical control levels, which in turn positively affects the accuracy and precision of task performance.