Intrinsic joint kinematic planning. II: Hand-path predictions based on a Listing's plane constraint

D. G. Liebermann, A. Biess, C. C.A.M. Gielen, T. Flash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This study was aimed at examining the assumption that three-dimensional (3D) hand movements follow specific paths that are dictated by the operation of a Listing's law constraint at the intrinsic joint level of the arm. A kinematic model was used to simulate hand paths during 3D point-to-point movements. The model was based on the assumption that the shoulder obeys a 2D Listing's constraint and that rotations are about fixed single-axes. The elbow rotations were assumed to relate linearly to those of the shoulder. Both joints were assumed to rotate without reversals, and to start and end rotating simultaneously with zero initial and final velocities. Model predictions were compared to experimental observations made on four right-handed individuals that moved toward virtual objects in "extended arm", "radial", and "frontal plane" movement types. The results showed that the model was partially successful in accounting for the observed behavior. Best hand-path predictions were obtained for extended arm movements followed by radial ones. Frontal plane movements resulted in the largest discrepancies between the predicted and the observed paths. During such movements, the upper arm rotation vectors did not obey Listing's law and this may explain the observed discrepancies. For other movement types, small deviations from the predicted paths were observed which could be explained by the fact that single-axis rotations were not followed even though the rotation vectors remained within Listing's plane. Dynamic factors associated with movement execution, which were not taken into account in our purely kinematic approach, could also explain some of these small discrepancies. In conclusion, a kinematic model based on Listing's law can describe an intrinsic joint strategy for the control of arm orientation during pointing and reaching movements, but only in conditions in which the movements closely obey the Listing's plane assumption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-173
Number of pages19
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 May 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • End-point path model
  • Joint kinematics
  • Listing's law


Dive into the research topics of 'Intrinsic joint kinematic planning. II: Hand-path predictions based on a Listing's plane constraint'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this