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Interference Effects in Performance of a Manual Task

The research was necessitated by the need to demonstrate interference effects of verbal and silent conditions in relation to performance. The study is based on three principal hypotheses that seek to establish the relationship between degree of interference with other factors such as gender, nature of demand and brain hemisphere employed to coordinate the tasks. The extraneous variables include a balancing hand and condition. The balancing hand was either right or left while the conditions were silent and verbal. The limitation of the study was inability to show correlation of between gender and interference. It was time consuming and other factors cultures and one’s experiences would affect accuracy of the study. Medical conditions including cerebral lesions may impair the proper cognition function thus giving erroneous results. The study uses a sample comprising of 421 participants comprising of 72 males and 322 females who were subjected to verbal and silent conditions expected to aid in demonstration of interference and lateralization. Silent task was balancing a dowel rod whereas verbal task was reciting memorized set of words (Green, 1994, p. 2015). The data obtained was analyzed using statistical measures of dispersion to establish the correlation of various variables. The conditions attempt to explore utilization of both hemispheres in addressing and solving problems. The effects of interference caused by different phenomena are examined on the basis of results obtained as well as other previous studies. The results obtained indicated that males experience a higher rate of interference compared to females. They also had difficulty with memory loading tasks and multi-tasking. Left handedness exhibited a small percentage of interference while carrying out verbal tasks. However, right handedness exhibited a greater magnitude of lateralization that was attributed to coordination of the functions using the same hemisphere (Bliss, 1892, p. 45).

There are many factors that may result in interference when performing a task. The paper seeks to explore dual-task interference, lateralization and language in relation to intrusion. Performance of two tasks concurrently advocates for undivided attention to each duty. However, increased demand of attention does not allow the individual to concentrate in the two tasks hence poor performance. The elevated cognitive pre-requisite is attributed to the poor performance and it is often in men. The demand is also ascribed to be higher if the two tasks being undertaken utilize the same hemisphere of the brain (McGowan, 2000, p. 1027). Right hemisphere is responsible for controlling motor activities of the left side of the body whereas the left hemisphere is responsible for the right side. The left hemisphere is also responsible for language, analytical and control of the right hand. According to Kinsbourne and Hiscock model, the left hemisphere is responsible for the coordination of right finger tapping and verbal tasks. They further proposed that coordination of tasks by the two hemispheres may counteract interference. In such cases, lateralization occurrences meet higher expectations of attention from one hemisphere. Poor performance is majorly obtained in these instances as the individual struggles to maintain concentration in both tasks (Marcel Kinsbourne, 1971, p. 350).
The paper seeks to ascertain lateralization of brain hemisphere using a manual-verbal task model. In the model, males and females are expected to carry out activities while conversing and the results of their performance noted. The dual task selected for the study was a verbal task and balancing a dowel rod. The left hemisphere of the brain is responsible for coordination of language and analytical duties. Verbal task and right hand movement both utilize the left hemisphere of the brain hence leading to interference. The study therefore aims at establishing the degree of dual-task interference across all handedness aspects (Harold Pasher, 1994, p. 319).
The first hypothesis developed for the study is that the degree of lateralization depends on the magnitude of tasks being carried out. The second hypothesis postulates that the level of interference depends on the specific utilization of brain hemispheres with a high level witnessed when one is carrying out activities that requires coordination from one hemisphere. The third hypothesis postulates that a greater magnitude of lateralization is more likely to be found in males than female (Carossell J, 2006, p. 64).
Subjects. A total number of 421 subjects who included 72 males and 322 females were involved in the study. The participants were students from the Joonland campus and SMF campus in Singapore.
Materials .A wooden dowel rod measuring 92cm long by 1.25 cm wide was used for balancing task. A stopwatch was also used to time the balancing time.
Procedure. The verbal task requires the participants to repeat the alphabet aloud while skipping the second letter. The subjects were given 30minutes to practice prior to the task. They were required to practice while alternating between left and right hand. 8 trials were then performed by the subject, 4 with the right hand and 4 with the left hand. On each trial, subject placed the rod on left or right hand with the other hand. The hand was removed once a green light was given and timing started. Timing was only stopped when the rod fell or touched any part of the body. Movements that would help in maintaining balance of the rod were recommended. The upper limit for the balancing time was 5minutes. Both verbal and silent conditions were applied in half of the trials each. Balancing time for the verbal and silent tasks were obtained and recorded.

Design. The experiment is an investigation of right against left hand, and verbal versus silent condition investigation within the subjects. The principal activity was balancing a dowel rod using both hands while alternating in between. Both males and females were incorporated in the study and were required to fill a handedness questionnaire.
Analysis Used
The data collected for 421 subjects who included 72 males and 322 females was calculated. Gender data from 27 subjects was not available. The data was collected from students the Joonland campus and SMF campus in Singapore. Gender was not a primary variable in the study hence only right handers were included in the analysis. A handedness quotient was calculated from the handedness questionnaire provided to the subjects. The mean handedness quotient was 0.84 and a standard deviation of 0.19.
Literature review
Cerebral lateralization is a key problem in performance of manual tasks. The human capacity cannot sustain the efficiency required when performing two different activities. The reason above pioneered the study to determine the rates of interference that result from lateralization. The times sharing and hemispheric sharing are the key foundations of the studies (Holmes, 2008). Previous researches have revealed that performances of individuals can be scored for time and error. Left handedness has been linked to lower lateralization in the studies. The mechanism behind development of a particular handedness is not yet defined. With the absence of such vital information, computation and scoring of a set of inventory items is prompted to determine the measure of hand laterality (John McGowan, 2000, p. 1023).
Limitation of the studies to determine interference effects is the aspect of time-consuming. The performances may also be affected by a number of factors including sex, age, culture and one’s experiences. Medical conditions including cerebral lesions may impair the proper cognition function thus giving erroneous results (Marcel Kinsbourne, 1971, p. 407).
The scope of the study is the influence of language, lateralization and dual-task interference in performance of manual tasks. The measurable variables are time-sharing aspects in relation to undertaking the activities in a controlled setting to monitor the effects and score the index (Olive Johnson, 1977, p. 15).
The mean of balancing time in verbal tasks using right hand was higher than using left hand. The mean for left hand was 13.99seconds while for the right hand was 11.57seconds. The mean for utilization of right hand while carrying out silent tasks was higher than left hand. The mean for right and left hand were 13.99 and 12.29 seconds respectively. Amount of right balancing interference while carrying out verbal and silent tasks concurrently was higher than the left with a mean of -4.65seconds and a standard deviation of 20.52. The mean for left balancing interference was -0.72 and SD of 20.52.
Based on the results obtained, left hand interference was found to be shorter than the right hand. The reason is that most of the subjects are right handers. The left hemisphere of the brain is responsible for the speech while right hemisphere coordinates movement of the left hand. Utilization of both hemispheres indicates that interference is greatly reduced when the two are used. Right hand interference was higher compared to the left since only one hemisphere was utilized. The results indicate a higher degree of lateralization with usage of one hemisphere. Silent tasks were seen to exhibit lesser interference than the verbal conditions. Silent conditions while balancing the rod using either left or right hand incorporates utilization of one hemisphere hence lesser interference. Verbal tasks are coordinated by the left hemisphere hence right hand movements that requires utilization of the same hemisphere contributes to a greater interference hence lateralization, The laterality quotient of right handers was a high positive value positive value for the right handers. This is because of the use of left hemispheres for right hand movement and speech.
It is argued that the left hemisphere plays a significant role in dual-tasks involving silent and verbal conditions. However, the study seeks to establish if the left hemisphere completely exercises complete control over the tasks. The objective of the study was to determine the correlation between verbal and silent tasks. As hypothesized, a strong relationship between the magnitude of demands and interference was established. Utilization of the same hemisphere when carrying out various tasks was found to cause great interference. Balancing the dowel rod while carrying out silent tasks exhibited a lesser degree of interference since only left hemisphere of brain was used to carry out a single task. Females were also found to exhibit lesser degree of interference and lateralization compared to males (Hausmann M, 2004, p. 76).
The magnitude of interference with right hand while verbal-tasking was demonstrated to be higher in both genders. The findings support current literature on the role of left hemisphere in coordinating language and motor functions. The left hemisphere is usually tasked with right hand movements and language. Simultaneous performance of such tasks causes a major interference in the coordination of both activities leading to poor performance and decreased attention. When left rod balancing is conducted alongside verbal tasks, the degree of interference is seen to be lower compared to that of the right hand. In this case, the two hemispheres of the brain are utilized hence decreasing the level of interference. The processing mechanism of the brain varies with the tasks carried out (Kumar S, Mandal MK, 2004 , p. 786).
The relationship between the degree of lateralization and nature of tasks carried out is not demonstrated in this investigation. The hypothesis should therefore be supported in preceding studies. However, other researches indicate that the different demands result in different performance by the subject (Acton, 2012). Visual encoding has been illustrated to be faster than verbal encoding in relation to brain’s processing of information. The retention of memory of the brain is influenced by many factors including stress and circumstances that lead to decreased performance. However, visual encoding does not require much effort hence the decreased interference experienced in such settings (Medland S, 2002 , p. 1236).
According to Lomas, performance of an individual is greatly improved when one carries out the verbal and manual tasks without looking at the movements. Desmond et al used a magnetic resonance imaging to demonstrate that working memory activated by right hand tapping lead to activation of the cerebellum. The phenomenon was clearly demonstrated coulometer movements.
Handedness literality plays a great role in influencing the functioning of an individual. There is no significant evidence that attempts to explain the high prevalence of left-handness in males compared to females. Studies have indicated improved adaptability of people who are left-handed to the condition. Interference that is attributed to literality is therefore not a huge concern and a factor that can hinder evaluation of scores and indices of interference effects. Right-handedness is a common phenomenon with the subjects exhibiting lesser interference when performing tasks using their right hand. Concurrent verbalization and left hand movement has been found to cause lesser degree of lateralization as the two tasks are coordinated using two different hemispheres.
The results obtained did not clearly support hypothesis of the study that the rates of interference were higher in males than females. However, previous studies present empirical evidence that interference of verbal activity with manual tasks was higher in males than females. It was found out from the study that females have a higher capability to handle more than one task combination using resources from different hemispheres with minimal interference. Males experienced difficulty in maintaining maximum concentration on dual tasks thus demonstrating their inability to optimize the usage of one hemisphere (Heath M, 1994, p. 148).
The study implicates that verbal tasks are more likely to cause greater lateralization and interference compared to silent functions. Handedness was also found to be a major factor in determination of interference effects. However, research indicates that the concern can be overridden through practicing. Focusing on key components of an activity is a strategic framework for the improvement of easy distraction that usually occurs with interference. Right handed subjects have been seen to perform better when using their right hands compared to when using left hands. The same has been observed for left handed people.
The study demonstrated the relationship between verbal and manual tasks in causing interference hence lateralization. Utilization of the same hemisphere to simultaneously perform and coordinate certain tasks is a key contributor to cerebral lateralization. Performance is also declined in males when utilizing both hemispheres compared to females. The nature of presenting demand correlates with the degree of interference exhibited. However, the study did not clearly establish the levels of lateralization when faced with different circumstances. Left handed individuals were seen to have an enhanced capacity to adapt and overcome the interferences. The mechanism behind this advantage over the right handed individuals is not clearly elaborated. Further research should be carried out to elaborate on the phenomenon (Medland S, 2002 , p. 1236).
Further studies should be conducted to help establish capacity of intellectual sustainability in critical circumstances. The interference of tapping was not linked to memory measurements hence studies on their relationship need to be carried out. Data obtained from the study showed that females responded well to conditions that may cause lateralization compared to males. The information is not clearly illustrated since previous researches do not indicate gender differences in regard to lateralization. I recommend further studies to be carried out to ascertain these findings. A comprehensive study should be conducted with sophisticated tools and methods to obtain more reliable results. Practice has also been attributed to improvement of concentration while carrying out tasks that require undivided attention and use of both brain hemispheres. The extent and effectiveness of this intervention method has not been established. Research should be carried out to determine the impact and recommendation made on the improvements to be carried out (Oldfield R, 1971, p. 110).
Acton, A. (2012). Advances in physiology research and application. Atlanta: ScholarlyEditions.
Bliss C. (1892). Investigation and Reaction Time and Attention: Studies from the Yale Psychological lab. 1-55.
Carossell J, H. M. (2006). Dual-task interference in right- and left-handers: typical laterality patterns are obtained despite reversal of baseline asymmetries. Cortex , 57-68.
Dalen K. (1992). Hemispheric asymmetry and dual-task performance in children: a finger-tapping study. International Journal of Neuroscience, 85-95.
Green A, S. R. (1994). A follow-up dual-task investigationof lateralized effects in right and left -handed males . Brain and Cognition , 2007-2019.
Harold Pasher, S. O. (1994). Dual Task Interference and the Cerebral Hemispheres . Journal of Experimantal Psychology , 315-330.
Hausmann M, K. I. (2004). Influence of task complexity on manual asymmetries. Cortex, 103-110.
Heath M, E. D. (1994). Performance of the manual and motor and Oral motor using dual-motor pardigm . Brain and Cognition , 144-150.
Holmes, J. (2008). Dual task interference : the effects of verbal cognitive tasks on upright postural stability and gait initiation in people with Parkinson’s disease and healthy adults. Ottawa: Library and Archives Canada.
John McGowan, T. D. (2000). Hemisphere Lateralisation in a manual-task combination: the role of modality and gender . Neuropschologia , 1018-1027.
Kumar S, Mandal MK. (2004 ). Motor performance as a function of verbal, nonverbal interference and handedness. International Journal of Neuroscience , 787-794.
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Medland S, M. K. (2002 ). Lateralization of speech production using verbal/manual tasks: meta-analysis of sex differences and practice effects . Neuropyschologia , 1233-1239.
Oldfield R. (1971). The Assessment and Analysis of Handings: The Edinburgh Invention. Neuropschologia, 97-113.
Olive Johnson, A. K. (1977). Effects of concurrent and musical task on a unimanual skill . Cortex, 11-16.


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