Journal of the Scientific Society

: 2021  |  Volume : 48  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 25--27

A cross-sectional study to evaluate hand preferences from performance measures namely work done, nerve conduction velocity, and bimanual coordination among phase I medical students

Jaysheela Bagi, Harpreet Kour 
 Department of Physiology, J.N. Medical College, KLE Academy of Higher Education and Research, Belagavi, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Harpreet Kour
Department of Physiology, J.N. Medical College, KLE Academy of Higher Education and Research, Nehru Nagar, Belagavi - 590 010, Karnataka


Background and Objective of the Study: Most of the individuals classify themselves as right or left handed but it is not entirely clear whether handedness should be determined based on preference inventories, hand performance tasks, or a combination of both. The strength and significance of the relationship between hand preference and performance asymmetries have always been contested. Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study has evaluated different performance measures to predict hand preference among a total of 150 1st year medical students. The performance measures included work done by ergography, nerve conduction velocity test, and bimanual coordination test. Results: A statistically significant correlation was found between hand performance and preference measures (P < 0.05 was considered as significant). Conclusion: This study helps to understand the degree of hand dominance on various performance tasks. In particular to medical profession, this study may help in the modifications of the instruments and training given to medical students in improving their bimanual dexterity.

How to cite this article:
Bagi J, Kour H. A cross-sectional study to evaluate hand preferences from performance measures namely work done, nerve conduction velocity, and bimanual coordination among phase I medical students.J Sci Soc 2021;48:25-27

How to cite this URL:
Bagi J, Kour H. A cross-sectional study to evaluate hand preferences from performance measures namely work done, nerve conduction velocity, and bimanual coordination among phase I medical students. J Sci Soc [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Sep 27 ];48:25-27
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The studies have documented the differences between left and right handers in terms of cerebral lateralization but more specific mechanisms causing these variations are less understood. Handedness is defined as the natural preference for using one hand over the other hand in performing special tasks. Several theories have been proposed explaining various factors which determines handedness.[1],[2],[3] The relationship between hand preferences and performance measure has been controversial, because when subjects are grouped according to the strength of hand preference, a difference is observed in the hand performance.[4],[5] The degree of manual asymmetry is generally assumed to vary with the task complexity. On most of the manual tasks, the preferred hand usually the right is more skilled than the nonpreferred hand. The results of psychophysical studies have reported that the complex task have stronger preference and also a reduction of manual asymmetries in more complex tasks.[6],[7] In today's complex environment, many jobs require the use of an operator's nondominant hand. Most of the instruments that are employed for daily use are designed for right-handers. It is found that accidents and an increase in muscle tension with performance are more common in the use of the nondominant hand as it is less trained to make of a specific group of muscles to perform a task.[7] Medical students learn a variety of complex hand skills necessary for the practice of medicine during their training period. The most of the training facilities and equipment are arranged for the use of right-handed individuals even though many of these skills require the use of nondominant as well as bimanual co-ordination. Most of the individuals classify themselves as right or left hander's the mechanism of handedness is not clear as to determine it based on preference inventories, hand performance tasks, or a combination of both these measures.[8]

Hence, the present study was undertaken to determine the hand preferences based on self-report and the performance measures. It might help to eliminate confounding variables related to self-report measures. This study has also help to understand the differences between two hands on a given task. The results of this study may enable modification of skill-oriented instructional sessions, instruments, and training of the medical students as to optimize the functions of the nondominant hand.


To determine hand preference using a standard questionnaireTo assess the differences between the two hands on a given task for predicting hand preferences.

 Materials and Methods

This was a cross-sectional study, conducted in the Department of Physiology, J. N. Medical College, Belgaum. A total of 150 1st-year medical students were enrolled as study participants for the study after obtaining written informed consent and ethical clearance from institution.

Sample size

It has been documented that about 90% of the population shows a preference for the right hand whereas the remaining only 10% prefer the left hand.[9] Considering the same, a total of 150 students from 1st-year M. B. B. S were screened for eligibility and enrollment in the study.

Inclusion criteria

First-year MBBS students of J. N. Medical College admitted in the academic year 2004–2005 were included in the study.

Exclusion criteria

Student with any physical deformity of hands which prevents the performance of study parameters or with any neurological illness was excluded from the study.


For hand preference

Participants were requested to complete a self-administered questionnaire. This determined hand preference during the performance of routine tasks. Edinburgh. Handedness inventory, Briggs and Nebes, Annet, and Waterloo handedness questionnaire were used as the basic model for developing the questionnaire.[4],[10],[11]

For subsequent analysis purposes, based on this scoring subjects with a scoring group (25–36) were classified into predominantly righthanded and (15–23) as predominantly lefthanded [Table 1].{Table 1}

Hand performance measures

Work done was recorded and calculated for flexors of the middle finger using Mosso's Ergographin kg/m2Nerve conduction velocity (NCV) was recorded for the median nerve in m/s was by using NeurocareTM–2000 computerized EMF/NCV/EP equipmentBimanual coordination, also called as two hand co-ordination test was measured with an electronic chronoscope (Anand Scientific Apparatus Manufacturers, Pune). Final performance values were noted in form of time taken to perform task in minutes and duration of error in performing the task in seconds. Then, the efficiency index was calculated to assess the overall performance of the individual using the following formula:


Statistical analysis

Descriptive analysis was carried out by mean and standard deviation (SD) for quantitative variables, frequency, and proportion for categorical variables. For normally distributed quantitative parameters, the mean values were compared between study groups using the independent sample t-test.


A total of 150 study participants age 17–23 years (mean age: 18.49 years SD = 0.954) were enrolled in this study. Out of 150 study participants, 92 were male and 58 were female.

According to self-report, 97.3% were right handers among our study population [Table 2].{Table 2}

Handedness effects on the task performance showed that the right hand performed better than the left hand in right-handers and left hand performed better in left-handers which were statistically significant (P < 0.05) [Table 3]a.{Table 3}

It was observed that the right handers performance was better in terms of less time taken, less errors, and more efficiency index as compare to left handers [Table 3]b.


The finding of our study showed that about 97% of the participants were right handers and their performance measures on various tasks, namely work done by ergography, NCV, and bimanual coordination, were better than left handers. P < 0.05 was considered as statistically significant.

Most people show a hand preference in many tasks and consider themselves as right-handed or left-handed. Handedness or hand dominance is best known and most studied human behavioral asymmetry. Self-reported handedness is often determined by the questionnaire of hand dominance for most of the unimanual tasks. However, in many bimanual situations, the two hands tend to have a specific role to complete the task, even though the preferred hand may often tend to be the dominant hand. Therefore, questionnaires used to identify handedness groups are simple and provide a quantitative measure of handedness based on the preferential use of one of the hands in everyday activities and categorizing one as more left or right handed then they actually are. Interestingly, from the previous studies, the common measures such as finger tapping frequency, hand strength, and pegboard insertion used to determine hand preferences by performance do not correctly classify an individual as right or left-handed according to the outcome of questionnaires. This implies that handedness is probably is not one-dimensional behavior but is task-dependent.[7],[8],[9],[10],[11],[12] However, in this study, a high concordance was observed in preference and performance handedness groups based on the performance data for each task and combined form showed a significant relationship between the preference and performance measures.

Strength of the study

The present study helped to understand the origin of manual asymmetries and their relationship to handedness and their relationship with motor performance.

Limitations of the study

The findings of the present study indicate that hand preference and asymmetries in motor proficiency are strongly related, but different aspects of motor performance may be independently lateralized. Using more preference measures may help in determining ambidextrous groups.


The majority of the study participants were right handers and their performance measures on various tasks were better than left handers. Future work could focus on modification on the instrument training that may improve the rise of nondominant hand with dominant hand.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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