Iorio, A., Flink, T. Gannon University, Erie, PA

Declines in manual asymmetry, or a more balanced performance between the right and left hands, occur with aging due to compensation for loss of function within the brain. Little research has been done on the reduction of manual asymmetry from a lifespan approach. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to determine the approximate age when the reduction of manual asymmetry occurs. Methods: Seventy right-handed participants (ages 20-90 years) were tested. Participants performed the Mini Mental State Exam and the Edinburgh Handedness Inventory to assess cognitive function and handedness, respectively. For the Purdue Pegboard Test, participants picked up individual pins and placed them in their respective holes as quickly as possible in 30 seconds. Each participant performed three trials with the right hand, left hand, and then both hands together. The number of pins successfully placed in the holes was recorded. Results: There was a significant decrease in the number of pins successfully placed in the pegboard as age increased, F(6, 704) = 55.02, p = 0.000. The first significant decrease in performance occurred in individuals that were 50 years of age (p < 0.05). There was no significant interaction between hand used and group; hence, no reductions in manual asymmetry were found with age. Conclusion: Overall performance declines with age, and this decline is shown in the fifth decade. However, no significant declines in manual asymmetry with age were reported. The Purdue Pegboard test may not be sensitive enough to see performance changes between the hands with age. In addition, more participants may be needed in the older age groups to show statistical differences. More testing is needed to further clarify these issues.



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