Biological and Experience-based Trajectories in Adolescent brain and cognitive development

Methods /

Fine motor skills

The fine, precise movements of the hand have special significance for people. Everyday tasks are based on this skill and play a role in the hand’s sensory function as well. 

In the finger-tapping task we measure the performance of children and adolescents of different ages in a simple fine motor task. Participants touch their thumb with their other fingers in a given order as rapidly and accurately as they can, first on the left, then the right hand. The tapping of the fingers is registered by data gloves which are connected to a computer.

The task roughly takes 30-45 minutes (with breaks).


Questions and answers

What is important or interesting to you about hand movements?

The speed and accuracy of hand movements change with age and experience (playing an instrument, using a smartphone), and actually, both of these things are equally important. Those are what we focus on in these tasks.

Can you tell me which one of my hands “works” better?

We perform the task on both hands, so we have means of comparison (for example maximum motor speed). Though the results don’t necessarily show which hand would perform better in a different task. 

Is the task performed with eyes open or closed?

In the beginning the participant is merely getting familiar with the task, so their eyes are open in this phase, but as they get better at it, they perform it with eyes closed, and this is what we register on the computer.