To understand the extent to which motor dexterity tests can reveal essential information about the psychological and physiological anatomy of a person, it is important to understand the purpose and meaning of motor dexterity as well as its importance in determining the thought patterns and intellect of an individual. Using motor dexterity evaluations for psychological studies is pertinent because motor dexterity examinations are essentially a test of cognitive coordination.

They include but are not limited to hand-eye coordination. The essential objective the experts and psychologists aim to achieve with motor dexterity tests is to ascertain the cognitive competence of an individual in performing simple and complex tasks and also in reflex actions. Individuals with sound mental health capacity often record optimal motor dexterity. In this blog, we shall throw light on how motor dexterity evaluations are an important aspect of psychological studies and how the tests are used in different kinds of day-to-day functions. 

development of motor dexterity skills in Children

Motor Dexterity and Neuropsychology

One of the most widespread applications of motor dexterity is in the field of neuropsychology. Motor-dexterity tests are often used in psychological studies related to Neuropsychology which is the study of cognitive functions in the light of psychological stimuli. The subject aims to study how individuals react and respond in certain situations. As far as the study of psychology is concerned, motor dexterity constitutes an important form of psychological capacity to be able to ascertain the mental abilities of individuals and especially of children. Since it is difficult to evaluate the exact competencies and abilities of children by gauging their intellect through verbal or written responses, motor dexterity tests are done to observe their reactions and reflexes.

The application of motor dexterity also finds wide acceptance in describing the behavioural patterns and inherent responses of individuals to stress-causing situations. By observing and analyzing how individuals physically react to variegated stimuli can help in understanding their behavioural conditioning. This helps psychologists and psychotherapists in devising effective treatment therapies to help them.

Ascertaining the Dominant Hand in Neuropsychology

While it is not of direct importance, it is important to identify and observe the dominant hand of an individual. In neuropsychology, the dominant hand helps psychologists in understanding the signs of frustration. Ascertaining the dominant hand can be done through a simple experiment. The dominant hand is the one that is used as a matter of natural response or reflex when faced with a challenge or an immediate danger. The body and mind have been conditioned to immediately reach out in case of an immediate or latent danger. Motor-dexterity tests are often used in psychological studies to determine which hand is dominant over the other.

The Hand Hoop Experiment for Determining the Dominant Hand

A simple hand hoop experiment can be performed to quickly describe which hand is used by the individual more naturally than the other. For this purpose, the individual is required to create a hoop by using both of his or her arms. The person is required to hold one hand in the other in such a way that it creates a hoop in the air. You can start by taking a piece of fabric rolled into a ball. You can also take a pair of rolled-up socks for this evaluation. Now throw the rolled-up piece of fabric into the hand hoop formed by the person. The hand raised by the individual to catch the roll of fabric is usually the dominant hand. whereas mor=st psychologists believe that the hand hoop evaluation is sufficient to determine the efficiency of the dominant hand, many other experts perform a series of other experiments, tests and evaluations to determine the dominant hand. Several experts also resort to detailed behaviour pattern observations to be able to determine motor dexterity with precision and accuracy.

Here, the objective of the experiment is not to see how well the participant has held the fabric ball, the objective is merely to see which hand has been used. The idea is not to gauge the speed, efficiency or fluidity. Several other tests can be used in the place of this motor dexterity test through the hand hoop method. Most of the new age psychologists have now questioned the efficacy of the hand hoop method in understanding the motor dexterity functions of the individual. This is because there are many challenges and limitations associated with the use of the hand hoop motor dexterity test to determine the dominant hand. Whereas the test can effectively identify the dominant hand, there are several other metrics that the test conveniently ignores, the motor strength, speed, fluidity and capacity cannot be measured through a simple hand hoop experiment.

Psychological studies assignment help by My Assignment services can allow students in writing detailed assignments on the subject that are elucidate and informative. 

fine motor skill

First, take a clean pair of rolled-up socks or some other soft item. Then, have the participants throw it into a hoop you make with your arms. The objective is not to see how well they do the task but to see which hand they use; you are trying to determine dominance. After doing this task, ask the participants which hand they prefer to use when writing.

While most will prefer the right, some will prefer the left. If a person says both, ask that individual to write a sentence with both hands, one at a time and the two of you can decide which hand to call dominant. In most cases, people will report they use the right hand more, and they will also unintentionally pick the right hand to throw the object with. If they report left and use the right hand to throw, then record that as mixed, but select the hand they choose as dominant. In the end, you will go with what the participant decides. You are required to record all information on the datasheet.

The Toothpick Test for Understanding Hand-Eye Coordination

The toothpick test involves multiple participants and thus it evaluates the performance of each participant concerning the other’. Therefore, it is also widely regarded as a relative test. Here the performance of the individual is observed in a comparative context to the rest of the sample group. Therefore, the toothpick test is also considered less reliable as compared to the other tests. Since the research findings are constantly changing, it is difficult to say how effective it can be in determining the dominant and the hand-eye coordination of the individual.

Here is How This Research Test Is Performed

  1. The study is performed with a group of ten or more participants. The main objective is to find out about the dominant hand as well as the accurate measure of hand-eye coordination. 
  2. The researcher sets a stopwatch to see exactly how quickly and efficiently each person can place around ten to fifteen toothpicks into a mug. 
  3. The experiment is performed in such a way as to compare the performance of one hand with the other. Whereas the person is asked to complete the insertion of 15 toothpicks first with the left hand. The participant is then asked to repeat the experiment with the other hand. 
  4. To be able to identify the dominant hand, the researcher takes a detailed note of the exact time spent on the experiment with each hand. 

Several times, it has been observed that the same amount of time is taken to experiment with both hands. In this case, the psychological evaluation cannot be concluded with just this one experiment. Here the psychologist or the therapist has to administer several other tests to be able to effectively determine which hand is the dominant hand. Avail physics assignment help by My Assignment services to understand the complexities of the research methods in motor dexterity evaluation.

Frustration and Deviation

frustration and deviation are the natural outcomes of the experiment that the researcher has to take into account while noting down his or her observations about the experiment. Frustration is simply the measure of the deviation caused due to the lack of time gap between switching from one hand to the other. It has been found through several studies that when the person is employed one hand after the other with a considerable time gap between the two movements, the performance levels have been better while when the two tasks have been performed immediately one after the other, the levels of frustration are more profound.


Prior to the advent of the technique of experimenting in a time-controlled environment with the help of a stopwatch, it was a common practice for researchers to observe the performance strictly in light of the time taken. Over time, researchers observed that this technique posed several difficulties and challenges. To start with, it often led to a bias called the experimenter's bias where the person recording the observations is influenced by his dominant hand.

Understanding the profundities of motor dexterity is important to several disciplines and subdisciplines. This is the reason why it is a part of the curriculum in several subjects and academic programs. Universities and educational institutions around the world teach students about the essentials of motor dexterity. However, for students who do not have a background in psychology or medicine, it can be quite overwhelming to understand the complex experiment techniques. The students can resort to psychological studies assignment help by experts to be able to write detailed assignments on the subject.

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About the Author

Keith Morris

Keith Morris

Keith Morris is a certified nurse who retired as a registered nurse after participating in a WHO campaign in Geneva. He is dedicated to helping students score good grades in their nursing courses and are offered a chance to help the people and establish a better healthcare community across the globe. He works as a nurse at a local clinic with underprivileged children and provides assignment guidance to the students. Reflection writing, aged care, Gibbs reflective cycle, cardiac nursing, pathophysiology, etc. are a few to name from his area of dominance.


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