College of Arts and Sciences
Kinesiology with Departmental Honors
Brittany Heintz Walters
Hand function is important for many everyday motor tasks and is commonly assessed using finger tapping tasks and the Grooved Pegboard Test. Age-related declines in attentional processes are well documented; decreased attentional resources, examined by increasing cognitive load with different types of dual task paradigms, may impair hand function. Many everyday activities also require coordination between both hands (i.e., bimanual dexterity). However, few studies have examined the effects of dual task type on unilateral versus bimanual dexterity. Thus, the purpose of this study is to examine the association between attention and manual dexterity in unilateral and bimanual tasks in young adults. Twenty-three healthy, right-handed adults (19-39 years) performed a unilateral tapping task by tapping with the left index finger on a touchscreen as quickly as possible. Participants also performed a bimanual task by completing the Grooved Pegboard Test with the right hand while performing the tapping task with the left hand. Two common types of cognitive dual tasks (visuospatial and non-visuospatial) were performed during the bimanual task to examine the effects of decreased attentional resources and differential effects of dual task type on bimanual dexterity. This study found the average number of taps was significantly lesser during all bimanual conditions compared to the unilateral tapping task (p < .001) and during the bimanual task with non-visuospatial task versus bimanual task with visuospatial task (p < .001). Results demonstrate that non-visuospatial cognitive tasks impair bimanual hand function to a greater degree than visuospatial tasks, indicating that non-visuospatial tasks may be beneficial to include in assessments of hand function.
Seavey, Cady V. and Heintz Walters, Brittany
"Associations Between Decreased Attentional Resources and Hand Function in Young Adults,"
SUURJ: Seattle University Undergraduate Research Journal: Vol. 7, Article 12.
Available at: https://scholarworks.seattleu.edu/suurj/vol7/iss1/12