Proprioceptive performance of bilateral upper and lower limb joints: Side-general and site-specific effects

Jia Han, Judith Anson, Gordon WADDINGTON, Roger Adams

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74 Citations (Scopus)


Superiority of the left upper limb in proprioception tasks performed by right-handed individuals has been attributed to better utilization of proprioceptive information by a non-preferred arm/hemisphere system. However, it is undetermined whether this holds for multiple upper and lower limb joints. Accordingly, the present study tested active movement proprioception at four pairs of upper and lower limb joints, after selecting twelve participants with both strong right arm and right leg preference. A battery of versions of the active movement extent discrimination apparatus were employed to generate the stimuli for movements of different extents at the ankle, knee, shoulder and fingers on the right and left sides of the body, and discrimination scores were derived from participants' responses. Proprioceptive performance on the non-preferred left side was significantly better than the preferred right side at all four joints tested (overall F (1, 11) = 36.36, p < 0.001, partial eta (2) = 0.77). In the 8 x 8 matrix formed by all joints, only correlations between the proprioceptive accuracy scores for the right and left sides at the same joint were significant (ankles 0.93, knees 0.89, shoulders 0.87, fingers 0.91, p a parts per thousand currency sign 0.001; all others r a parts per thousand currency sign 0.40, p a parts per thousand yen 0.20). The results point to both a side-general effect and a site-specific effect in the integration of proprioceptive information during active movement tasks, whereby the non-preferred limb/hemisphere system is specialized in the utilization of the best proprioceptive sources available at each specific joint, but the combination of sources employed differs between body sites
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-323
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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