Bimanual interference in children performing a dual motor task

E. Otte*, H.I. van Mier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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The present study addressed the development of bimanual interference in children performing a dual motor task, in which each hand executes a different task simultaneously. Forty right-handed children (aged 4, 5-6, 7-8 and 9-11 years, ten in each age group) were asked to perform a bimanual task in which they had to tap with a pen using the non-preferred hand and simultaneously trace a circle or a square with a pen using the preferred hand as quickly as possible. Tapping and tracing were also performed unimanually. Differences between unimanual and bimanual performance were assessed for number of taps, length of tap trace and mean tracing velocity. It was assumed that with increasing age, better bimanual coordination would result in better performance on the dual task showing less intermanual interference. The results showed that tapping and tracing performance increased with age, unimanually as well as bimanually, consistent with developmental advancement. However, the percentage of intermanual interference due to bimanual performance was not significantly different in the four age groups. Although performing the dual task resulted in mutual intermanual interference, all groups showed a significant effect of tracing shape. More specifically, all age groups showed a larger percentage decrease in tracing velocity when performing the circle compared to the square in the dual task. The present study reveals that children as young as four years are able to coordinate both hands when tapping and tracing bimanually.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)678-693
JournalHuman Movement Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006

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