Mechanical Engineering Faculty Research


Effects of Age and Psychomotor Ability on Kinematics of Mouse-mediated Aiming Movement

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The objective of this research is to understand the influence of age and age-related psychomotor ability on the process of mouse-mediated aiming movement. It is premised on the notions that (1) mouse-mediated aiming movements can be better understood via studying its kinematics and (2) age is a surrogate variable in kinematic differences, and that age-influenced fundamental factors such as psychomotor ability may have a more direct effect. As expected, age kinematic differences were detected. However, when comparing with age, age-influenced psychomotor ability (i.e. manual dexterity) contributed more substantially to the variances of kinematics in the ballistic phase. For homing phase, in addition to manual dexterity, age-influenced wrist-finger speed was also a significant contributor. In future studies, it is suggested that components of visual processing should be included for better understanding of its role as an age-influenced fundamental ability in aiming movements. Applications of this research are discussed. Practitioner Summary: This paper presents empirical data showing age effects in movement kinematics are chiefly mediated by age-related changes in psychomotor ability. Our findings provide additional data for existing and newer performance enhancement solutions, especially for those targeting older adults.

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