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Psychol Aging. 1993 Sep;8(3):360-70.

Handwriting performance in younger and older adults: age, familiarity, and practice effects.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.


The main goals of 2 experiments on the aging of handwriting skills were to investigate (a) age differences in speed of handwriting performance, (b) effects of task familiarity on age differences in performance, and (c) effects of practice on age differences in performance. Younger adults performed reliably faster than older adults on all tasks. An Age X Familiarity interaction in both experiments indicated that age differences were magnified for unfamiliar but attenuated for familiar tasks. In the second experiment, an Age X Trial interaction revealed that older adults improved at a faster rate than younger adults. Regressions with initial trial data indicated that the older were slower than the younger adults by a factor of about 1.6. With practice, however, this slowing factor was only 1.02. The results suggest that familiarity and practice play a role in speed of handwriting.

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