Order parameter dynamics of body-scaled hysteresis and mode transitions in grasping behavior

Till D Frank, Michael J Richardson, Stacy M Lopresti-Goodman, Michael T Turvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Several experimental studies have shown that human grasping behavior exhibits a transition from one-handed to two-handed grasping when to-be-grasped objects become larger and larger. The transition point depends on the relative size of objects measured in terms of human body-scales. Most strikingly, the transitions between the two different behavioral ‘modes’ of grasping exhibit hysteresis. That is, one-to-two hand transitions and two-to-one hand transitions occur at different relative object sizes when objects are scaled up or down in size. In our study we approach body-scaled hysteresis and mode transitions in grasping by exploiting the notion that human behavior in general results from self-organization and satisfies appropriately-defined order parameter equations. To this end, grasping transitions and grasping hysteresis are discussed from a theoretical perspective in analogy to cognitive processes defined by Haken’s neural network model for pattern recognition. In doing so, issues such as the exclusivity of grasping modes, biomechanical constraints, mode-mode interactions, single subject behavior and population behavior are explored.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-147
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Biological Physics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • order parameters
  • hysteresis
  • grasping


Dive into the research topics of 'Order parameter dynamics of body-scaled hysteresis and mode transitions in grasping behavior'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this