When an actor performs a rhythmic limb movement while observing a spatially incongruent movement he or she exhibits increased movement orthogonal to the instructed motion. Known as rhythmic movement interference, this phenomenon has been interpreted as a motor contagion effect, whereby observing the incongruent movement interferes with the intended movement and results in a motor production error. Here we test the hypothesis that rhythmic movement interference is an emergent property of rhythmic coordination. Participants performed rhythmic limb movements at a self-selected tempo while observing a computer stimulus moving in a congruent or incongruent manner. The degree to which participants visually tracked the stimulus was manipulated to influence whether participants became spontaneously entrained to the stimulus or not. Consistent with the rhythmic coordination hypothesis, participants only exhibited the rhythmic movement interference effect when they became spontaneously entrained to the incongruent stimulus.
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Romero, V., Coey, C., Schmidt, R. C., & Richardson, M. J. (2012). Movement coordination or movement interference: visual tracking and spontaneous coordination modulate rhythmic movement interference. PLoS ONE, 7(9), 1-9. [e44761]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0044761