By Malerie Mysza, Health Sciences; Anna Livecchi, Health Sciences; Hima Devgan, Health Sciences; Morgan Weber, University of Cincinnati; Kennedy Quinlan, University of Cincinnati; Nicole Brant, University of Cincinnati; Audrey Brack, University of Cincinnati; Claire Combs, University of Cincinnati; Keegan Gawelek, University of Cincinnati
Advisor: Susan Kotowski
Abstract: When functions of the dominant hand are lost due to injury/illness, the non-dominant must train by mental or physical practice to maximize fine motor skills and improve the ability to perform activities of daily living. To assess the best practice method, three sets of Legos, a varied practice schedule and written instructions were provided to each participant. At the end of each nondominant hand practice session, completion time and accuracy were recorded. The population of the study, young adults with no history of neurocognitive injury or illness, enabled us to determine the best practice method for future use with individuals who have decreased function in their dominant hand. Overall, there was a decrease in structure completion with their non-dominant hand. There was no significant difference found between the completion times with varied practice amounts per day, but there was a significant difference in completion time between the 8-day and 16-day duration of practice. The 16-day schedule showed a 41.6% faster average completion time than the 8-day schedule. The combination of physical and mental practice was the superior method of practice as it decreased average completion time by 17.5%. Online surveys were utilized to track progress but were likely inadequate; there was no true way to authenticate responses or ensure completion. Due to COVID-19, the study also suffered from limited participation. Current evidence supports increased practice duration and a combination practice method is beneficial for motor learning, but further research is necessary to establish the best technique for successful motor learning.