Hatayama, T., Tohoku University and Hatayama, M., Miyagi College for Women Japan
A simple way of measuring finger fine movements was devised to examine the sensorimotor regulation of children's manual dexterity by means of a paced tapping technique. Subjects included 3 3- and 4-year-old children (2 boys, 1 girl), whose total IQs ranged from 110-130 on the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence. They participated in the paced tapping tests around every 3 months over one-year period, in which they were required to press a key immediately after every click, presented at either constant or variable rate within 0.5 to 3.5Hz. The performance curves of inter-tap intervals drawn from continuous performance during every trial of about 1- min long indicated that even a 3-year-old S could regulate their fine movements exactly to clicks given at the constant rates, but needed further developmental growth to do so at the variable rates: The most difficult task for the Ss was the condition of gradual decrement in click frequency that would demand to inhibit an action once started. From the results obtained it can be seen that successful fine movements are largely maintained by sustained attention, and restricted by emotional arousal. The paced tapping method may aid in the detection of developmental disabilities.