Dynamical degrees of freedom and correlations in isometric finger force production

Eric G. James

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Prior research has concluded that the correlations of isometric finger forces represent the extent to which the fingers are controlled as a single unit. If this is the case, finger force correlations should be consistent with estimates of the controlled (dynamical) degrees of freedom in finger forces. The present study examined the finger force correlations and the dynamical degrees of freedom in four isometric force tasks. The tasks were to produce a preferred level of force with the (a) Index, (b) Ring, (c) Both fingers and also to (d) Rest the fingers on the load cells. Dynamical degrees of freedom in finger forces were lowest in the Both finger force task and progressively higher in the Ring, Index and Resting finger force tasks. The finger force correlations were highest in the Resting and lowest in the Index and Ring finger tasks. The results for the dynamical degrees of freedom in finger forces were consistent with a reduction in degrees of freedom in response to the degrees of freedom problem and the task constraints. The results for the finger force correlations were inconsistent with a reduction in the dynamical degrees of freedom. These findings indicate that finger force correlations do not necessarily reflect the coupling of finger forces. The findings also highlight the value of timedomain analyses to reveal the organization of control in isometric finger forces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)533-539
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012


  • Correlation
  • Degrees of freedom
  • Finger force
  • Isometric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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