Coordination of the grip force (GF) with a tangential force (TF, often referred to as load force) exerted along a certain line in space (i.e., one-dimensional tasks) during object manipulation has proved both to be high and based on feed-forward neural control mechanisms. However, GF-TF coordination deteriorates when the TF of onedimensional task consecutively switches its direction (bidirectional task). In the present study, we aimed to explore GF-TF coordination in the generally neglected multi-dimensional manipulations. We hypothesized that the coordination would depend on the number of unidirectional and bidirectional orthogonal components of a two-dimensional TF exertion. Fourteen subjects traced various circular TF patterns and their orthogonal diameters shown on a computer screen by exerting a static TF. As expected, the unidirectional tasks revealed higher GF-TF coordination than the bidirectional ones (e.g., higher GF-TF correlations and GF gains, and lower GF/TF ratio). Regarding the circular tasks, most of the data were in line with the hypothesis revealing higher coordination associated with higher number of unidirectional components. Of particular importance could be that the circular tasks also revealed prominent time lags of GF with respect to TF, suggesting involvement of feedback mechanisms. We conclude that the force coordination in bidirectional static manipulations could be affected by changes in TF direction along either of its orthogonal components. The time lags observed from the circular tasks could be a consequence of the activity of sensory afferents, rather than of the visual feedback provided or the task complexity.
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