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Unimanual and Bimanual Simultaneous Fingertapping in Schoolchildren: Developmental Aspects and Hand Preference-related Asymmetries

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Computerised analysis of finger tapping was performed in 233 normal 5- to 12-year-old children whose hand preference was assessed with six demonstration actions. Performance with both hands became more rapid with age when tapping unimanually or simultaneously in phase with two hands as quickly as possible. There were no differences between the sexes. Performance with both hands also acquired more tapping regularity with age during unimanual tapping, whereas only the left hand did so during bimanual tapping. There was no age effect on the dexterity (speed) difference between unimanually tapping hands, nor on the relative time lag and the degree of synchrony between the hands in bimanual tapping. The degree of synchrony, however, becomes more stable in older children. The more righthanded children are, the faster the right hand is in unimanual tapping, and the more the right hand is ahead of the left hand during bimanual tapping. However, there is a right shift for both of these variables which makes them poor predictors of hand preference. These results suggest that there is a strong bias towards the right hand in complete righthanders as well as-to a lesser extent-in all others, which might be connected to the leading role of the left hemisphere for the performance aspects of hand motor function under study.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 1997

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