International Journal of Exercise Science 10(8): 1174-1183, 2017. Bilateral transfer is a well-known phenomenon whereby training one limb results in improvement in the untrained homologous limb. However, despite evidence across a range of motor skill paradigms, the influence of motor skill complexity on the magnitude of bilateral transfer has not yet been fully explored. The aim of this preliminary study was to compare bilateral transfer effects between three dexterity tasks with the hypothesis that the complexity of the task, the volume of time training, and the amount of improvement in the trained hand would positively influence bilateral transfer. Using a randomized cross-over design, 14 young healthy participants (mean age of 22.6 ± 6.6 years; eight female) completed three finger dexterity tasks (O’Connor dexterity, Purdue pegboard, and Mirror Purdue pegboard tasks) with one week rest between each task. Each task required training with the participant’s dominant hand with pre and post testing in both the dominant and non-dominant hands. The Mirrored Purdue pegboard task showed the greatest rate of improvement in the dominant hand. Similarly, the greatest bilateral transfer effect was found in the Mirrored Purdue task. Interestingly, the amount of time training was not a factor associated with bilateral transfer. In conclusion, this study has demonstrated that the value of task complexity, but not the volume of practice, correlated with the magnitude of bilateral transfer to the non-dominant hand.


At the time of publication, co-author Dr. Alan Pearce's academic affiliation was incorrectly attributed as Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. Dr. Pearce's correct affiliation is La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. The Editors of the International Journal of Exercise Science regret this error.