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Test–retest reliability of Purdue Pegboard performance in thermoneutral and cold ambient conditions

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In the cold, Purdue Pegboard (PP) performance declines. The purpose of this study was to determine if this cold-induced impairment is consistent across days (i.e. test–retest reliability) in 5°C. In thermoneutral air (25°C), 14 men were familiarised to the dominant hand (PPa) and bimanual (PPb) PP tasks. They then experienced two 90-min cold exposures (Day 1, Day 2) while wearing ∼1 clo. Bare hands were maintained throughout. Performance on both tasks showed high reliability from day to day (intraclass correlations >0.700) in both thermoneutral and cold conditions. However for both tasks, room temperature performance did not predict performance in the cold (intraclass correlations <0.450). When screening applicants for manual labour in the cold, one must consider that room temperature dexterity does not correlate with dexterity in the cold. It is recommended that a 60-min period of cold exposure be employed to assess manual dexterity in these workers.

Statement of Relevance: This study shows that PP performance in room temperature does not predict performance in the cold but performance in the cold is consistent from day to day. When screening applicants for manual labour in the cold, it is recommended that dexterity tests be conducted in the same ambient conditions.
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Keywords: fingers; motor skill; reproducibility of results; skin temperature; task performance

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Exercise and Environmental Physiology Laboratory, Kent State University, KentOH, USA 2: Department of Psychological Sciences,Vanderbilt University, NashvilleTN, USA

Publication date: November 1, 2011

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