Hand Choice in Simple Tasks Studied

BERKELEY, Calif., Sept. 27 (UPI) — Magnetic stimulation of a certain area of the brain can change which hand is favored to accomplish a task, U.S. scientists say.

University of California, Berkeley, researchers say in simple tasks like pushing a button or picking up up a book, the brain makes a decision which hand will be used for the job.


But when the left posterior parietal cortex of the brain received magnetic stimulation, right-handed volunteers in a study were more likely to use their left hand to perform simple one-handed tasks, a university release said.

The left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and vice versa. Simulating the parietal cortex, which plays a key role in processing spatial relationships and planning movement, causes disruption of the neurons that govern motor skills, the researchers said.

“You’re handicapping the right hand in this competition, and giving the left hand a better chance of winning,” Flavio Oliveira, a UC Berkeley postdoctoral researcher in psychology and neuroscience, said.

Showing that magnetic stimulation can manipulate the brain to change plans for which hand to use could pave the way for clinical advances in the rehabilitation of victims of stroke and other brain injuries, researchers said.

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