Age-related change in the difference between left- and right-side speed on motor examination may be an important indicator of maturation. Cortical maturation and myelination of the corpus callosum are considered to be related to increased bilateral skill and speed on timed motor tasks. We compared left minus right foot, hand, and finger speed differences using the Revised Physical and Neurological Assessment for Subtle Signs (PANESS; Denckla, 1985); examining 130 typically developing right-handed children (65 boys, 65 girls) ages 7-14. Timed tasks included right and left sets of 20 toe taps, 10 toe-heel alternation sequences, 20 hand pats, 10 hand pronate-supinate sets, 20 finger taps, and 5 sequences of each finger-to-thumb apposition. For each individual, six difference scores between left- and right-sided speeded performances of timed motor tasks were analyzed. Left-right differences decreased significantly with age on toe tapping, heel-toe alternations, hand pronation-supination, finger repetition, and finger sequencing. There were significant gender effects for heel-toe sequences (boys showing a greater left-right difference than girls), and a significant interaction between age and gender for hand pronation-supination, such that the magnitude of the left-right difference was similar for younger, compared with older girls, while the difference was significantly larger for younger, compared to older boys. Speed of performing right and left timed motor tasks equalizes with development; for some tasks, the equalization occurs earlier in girls than in boys.
- Corpus callosum
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology