Executed and imagined bimanual movements: A study across different ages

Alessandro Piedimonte, Francesca Garbarini, Marco Rabuffetti, Lorenzo Pia, Anna Berti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Movements with both hands are essential to our everyday life, and it has been shown that performing asymmetric bimanual movements produces an interference effect between hands. There have been many studies- using varying methods-investigating the development of bimanual movements that show that this skill continues to evolve during childhood and adolescence. In the current study we used a spatial bimanual task to delineate the development of bimanual movements not only during different stages of childhood but also during late stages of adulthood. Furthermore, we used the same task as a window to observe the involvement of motor imagery through the same age groups. For this study we recruited participants from 4 different age groups and asked them to perform congruent and noncongruent bimanual movements in a Real condition, where participants moved both hands, and in an Imagery condition, where they had to imagine 1 hand's movements while actually using the other hand. Our results showed that, with actual movement execution, the interference between motor programs of the 2 hands is higher in children (6-10 years old) than in younger adults (20-30 years old), while it tends to increase again in the elderly adults (60-80 years old). Interestingly, in the Imagery condition, the interference was present only among 10-year-old and 20-to 30-year-old participants, suggesting that motor imagery, not yet developed in young children and compromised by age in the elderly subjects, did not modulate motor performance in these last 2 groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1073-1080
Number of pages8
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Aging
  • Bimanual movements
  • Coordination
  • Development
  • Motor imagery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies
  • Demography
  • Medicine(all)


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