Distributional properties of relative phase in bimanual coordination

Eric James, Charles S. Layne, Karl M. Newell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Studies of bimanual coordination have typically estimated the stability of coordination patterns through the use of the circular standard deviation of relative phase. The interpretation of this statistic depends upon the assumption of a von Mises distribution. The present study tested this assumption by examining the distributional properties of relative phase in three bimanual coordination patterns. There were significant deviations from the von Mises distribution due to differences in the kurtosis of distributions. The kurtosis depended upon the relative phase pattern performed, with leptokurtic distributions occurring in the in-phase and antiphase patterns and platykurtic distributions occurring in the 30° pattern. Thus, the distributional assumptions needed to validly and reliably use the standard deviation are not necessarily present in relative phase data though they are qualitatively consistent with the landscape properties of the intrinsic dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)478-489
Number of pages12
JournalMotor Control
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Coordination dynamics
  • Distributional properties
  • Relative phase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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