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J Mot Behav. 1990 Sep;22(3):361-85.

Effects of spatial and motor demands in handwriting.

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  • 1Nigmegen Institute for Cognition Research and Information Technology, University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Four experiments were conducted to study response programming in handwriting tasks. Twelve right-handed subjects wrote acoustically presented words and phrases, and their handwriting was digitally recorded. Changes in latency, movement time, trajectory length, and pen pressure were studied as a function of response complexity (i.e., word length, complexity of initial letter, and spacing distance). The lengthening of the spatiotemporal parameters preceding the more complex structures is interpreted to be a reflection of the effects of mental load. The results further indicate that the choice of a programming strategy is dependent on the structural complexity of the task. Writing pressure decreased as a function of increased sequence length. The findings support a hierarchical model of handwriting.

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