Intermanual transfer of a new writing occupation in young adults without disability

Document Type


Publication Date



It has been shown that acquisition of a skill by one hand is facilitated by previous learning of the same skill with the other hand. This is called intermanual transfer of learning, or cross-education. The investigators examined intermanual transfer of occupation of writing in a group of 10 right-handed subjects with no known motor disabilities. Subjects learned to perform a novel occupation of writing a foreign alphabet letter with either their right or left hand. Later, subjects reproduced the skill with the practised and unpractised contralateral hand. Pen movements and surface electromyography of the first dorsal interosseus muscle were recorded to assess the transfer of learning. Analysis revealed an almost full transfer of the learned motor task between hands in either left-to-right or right-to-left direction when movement time and movement size were compared. This indicates that transfer did not depend on hand dominance. These findings suggest that a task already learned by one hand can positively influence the learning of the same task by the other hand. The results have important implications for occupational therapy - namely, that activities comprising tasks previously learned by one hand would be more effective in facilitating improved performance by the other hand than activities comprising previously unlearned tasks in the case of retraining skills in patients with amputation or hemiplegia. Because the participants in this study were a small number of college students, research should be carried out with larger participants pools and participants with disabilities to consolidate the findings.

Publication Name

Occupational Therapy International

Volume Number


First Page


Last Page


Issue Number




This document is currently not available here.