A silly little trick has been circulating throughout the cyber world
for some time, similar to trying to pat your head and rub your
stomach, but this one involves the coordinating movements of your
hands and feet. The foot trick goes something like this: While sitting
upright in a chair, lift your right foot off the floor and make
clockwise circles. Then, while making clockwise circles with your
right foot, draw the number 6 in the air with your right hand. The
catch is to try to keep your right foot moving in a clockwise
direction while drawing the ‘6’ in the air. It is very difficult, if
not impossible for some. So, what’s the deal? Read on. This
psychological article will explain.
There is a plausible explanation for the challenge to move your foot
in a clockwise direction while making a counter-clockwise motion with
your hand. The difficulty is not limited to hand/foot coordination.
Try this other little muscle coordination test (this one is off the
cuff): hold both arms out in front of you, bent at the elbow (hand
should be pointed up, palms facing one another). First, move your
right arm in forward circle. Once you have your right arm moving
forward, move your left arm in backward circles simultaneously. Can
you do it? Accurately? Keeping your movements in circles? (Yeah,
right. No one was looking as you were reading this psychological
article explanation, so who is going to challenge you?)
If you cannot, no matter how hard you try, make your arms and legs
move in opposite directions you are not alone. According to a
psychological article by David Rosenbaum, Penn State University,
published in November/December Journal of Experimental Psychology,
your brain is programmed a certain way. The psychological article
explains that the brain is the sophisticated wiring that controls our
muscle movements. Because of how we are programmed, the brain
naturally has more trouble coordinating movements that are in
different directions, or non-isodirectional. Why? you ask. Give that
question some thought. Do you more often need to use your limbs in
conjunction with one another or in contradiction to one another? Here
are a few activities that you may have participated in recently, or at
least observed, that will demonstrate coordinated muscle movements: 1)
riding a bicycle. Do your legs move in the same direction or opposite
directions? If they moved in opposite directions you would never move
from square one; 2) swinging a bat. Both arms must move together; 3)
folding clothes. The actions are mirror images, but are still in the
same direction. Also, do not confuse ‘opposite’ with ‘alternating’.
Although some of our movements may alternate, they are still in the
same direction. It came on our respective mental hard-drives, luckily.
And why does all of this matter? There have been numerous
psychological articles that have reported studies that tested the
effects of stroke on motor coordination. The general consensus is that
non-isodirectional movements are difficult under normal circumstances.
For stroke patients, both isodirectional and non-isodirectional
movements are compromised not only on the lesioned brain hemisphere
but also on the “unaffected” hemisphere. The conclusion is that both
the left and right hemispheres are needed for coordinated muscle
movements. When a person suffers a stroke, regardless of the side in
which the stroke occurred, the synchronization of motor control
movements is negatively affected.
What did this first in Boomer Yearbook’s series of
href="http://www.BoomerYearbook.com">psychological articles help
you discover about your own abilities to move your limbs in opposite
directions? Are you the exception or the rule? Tell us how your own
tests from psychological
articlesturned out on BoomerYearbook.com.
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Read more articles by Ravi Das or search for articles on the same topic or others.