In most individuals, there is a significant difference in hand dominance and this suggests that sensorimotor tasks, such as reaction time, would demonstrate a difference in performance tasks conducted with dominant versus non-dominant hand. In this study, comparisons were made between the reaction time of the dominant to the nondominant hand, the reaction time of the male participants to that of the female participants, the reaction time variability of the dominant hand of the male participants to that of the dominant hand of female participants, and finally the reaction time variability of the nondominant hand of the male participants to that of the female participants. The study was conducted virtually with participants performing a set of instructions emailed to them. The results demonstrated that the reaction time of the dominant hand was faster than that of the nondominant hand in all participants, the reaction time of the male participants was faster than that of the female participants, the reaction time variability of the dominant hand was higher in male than in female participants, and lastly, the reaction time variability of the nondominant hand was lower for the male than in the female participants.
Chouamo AK, Griego S, Lopez FAS. (2020). Reaction time and hand dominance. Journal of Science and Medicine; 3(Special Issue):1-7. https://doi.org/10.37714/josam.v2i4.66.
It is widely known that most humans multitask and perform movements better with one hand than the other. Up to 90% of humans are right-handed, some are left-handed, and an indeterminate number of people are ambidextrous (can use both hands equally) . Historically, decades ago, and in some cultures, right handed individuals were associated with positive values and the left handed people were associated with negative ones . This led to the disparagement of left-handed people, and they were often forced to switch hand use. These myths were dispelled in 1960, when it was discovered that speech was based predominantly in the left hemisphere of the brain. Currently, it is well known that hand dominance is not a conscious decision.
Studies have shown that genes affect handedness. The PCSK6 and the LRRTMI genes are associated with the likelihood of being right handed and left handed respectively . Genetics are not the only factors that contribute to handedness. Another factor is the neural activity that happens in the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which tends to influence whether the left or right hand is dominant to the other hand .
Reaction Time (RT) in relationship to hand dominance has been assessed by a number of researchers. Vidal et al  and Shen and Franz  used a simple ipsilateral visual stimulus and reported that in right-handed individuals key pressing was faster by the right hand, which was the dominant hand for all of the subjects, than by the left hand using simple reaction time tasks. However, Rabbitt  and Di Stefano et al.  in their work reported that both hands react with the same latency for a finger-extension response in a simple task.
One of the ways to evaluate the reaction time in humans is by using the Brain Gauge  (shown in Figure 1). This device has been described and used in multiple studies for assessing reaction time [9-11]. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the difference in a reaction time task with the dominant versus nondominant hand. Based on a study conducted in 2006 by Heuer , it is hypothesized that the reaction time for the dominant hand will be faster (shorter) than that of the nondominant hand. In addition, based on the experimental finding by Shimoyama  that men react faster than women do, another hypothesis is that the reaction time for males will be faster than that for females.
Materials and methods
Twenty-nine healthy individuals (15 males, 14 females) participated in this study. Participants were aged 20 to 39 years old. Twenty-seven were right handed and the remaining two were left handed subjects.
The age, gender and hand dominance of the participants were collected through a survey prior to conducting the experiment. The experiment involved having the subject seating down in front of a computer connected to the Brain Gauge hardware. This Brain Gauge hardware is a two-point vibro-tactile stimulator (the Brain Gauge by Cortical Metrics, Carrboro, NC), which was used to deliver stimuli to the tips of digits 2 and 3 according to the signal that the Brain Gauge software program sent to the device. The device had tips that are controlled by the computer, which delivers sinusoidal vibrotactile stimulation. The second, index finger, and third, middle, digit were chosen as test sites because of the convenience of the location of those fingers and to make the protocol more comfortable for the user.
The computer monitor showed cues useful for the experiment. The cues indicated when the stimuli would be delivered and when the subjects had to respond. The Brain Gauge program provided three training trials prior to the trials used for collection, which helped the subjects to get familiar with the experiment.
For this experiment, the subjects were divided into two groups based on whether their identifying number (also known as subject ID; the subject ID is a randomized number that de-identifies participants) was even or odd. Each group had a different set up. The main difference between the two setups was that the subjects that had an even subject ID began the experiment with their dominant hand first, while the subjects that had an odd subject ID began the experiment with their nondominant hand first.
The participants whose subject ID was even began the experiment with their dominant hand, followed by the nondominant, while those whose subject ID was odd began the experiment with their non-dominant, followed by the dominant. This was done in order to factor out the effect of fatigue on the results we obtain. The experimental tasks that the subjects had to complete were the tactile reaction time task for both hands.
For the tactile reaction time task, the subjects felt a vibration stimulus on digit 3 and had to respond with digit 2 on the Brain Gauge’s button that was not stimulated.
This experiment yielded the following results. As can be seen on Figures 2‒3, the reaction time was shorter (faster) for males than for females. In addition, as it can be observed in Figure 6, the reaction time of the dominant hand was also faster compared to the nondominant hand. Moreover, the data shows that the reaction time variability for the dominant hand was lower in males than in females as it can be seen in Figure 4. Meanwhile, for the nondominant hands, the reaction time variability was faster in the female participants than in the male participants as it can be seen in Figure 5.
Collected data shows that the average of the dominant hand’s reaction time is 237 msec, while the average of the nondominant hand’s reaction time is 270 msec. In addition, the average of the dominant hand’s reaction time variability is 18.96 msec, while it is 22.59 msec for the nondominant hand. While comparing the reaction times between genders, collected data showed that the average reaction time of the dominant hand for females and males are 251.2 msec and 224.7 msec, respectively. Likewise, it showed that the average nondominant hand reaction time for females and males are 291.7 msec and 249.7 msec, respectively. In addition, the data showed that the average dominant hand reaction time variability for females is 19.4 msec, while it is 18.5 msec for males. Moreover, it showed that the average nondominant hand reaction time variability for females and males are 20.0 msec and 25.02 msec respectively.
A two sample (two-tailed) T-test, assuming equal variances, was used to compare the reaction times between males and females. The T-test performed gave a p-value of 0.0042, which is much lower than the significant value of 0.05. This means that there is a significant difference between the averages of the two independent sets.
The individual differences between dominant and non-dominant hand in the study can be viewed in tables displayed in Tables 1,2.
|Even Subject ID (Dominant Hand First)||0028||0012||0002||0010||0040||0060||0024||0008||0030||0050||0016||0046||0020||0044||0064|
|Dominant Hand Reaction Time (msec)||262.4||186.4||196.6||275.8||255.6||185||254||219.6||224.6||244.2||217.2||205||240.4||190.6||213.2|
|Nondominant Hand Reaction Time (msec)||326.6||257.2||204||307.4||344.4||206||270.6||221.6||240.8||260.2||378||206.8||285.4||204.4||229|
|Reaction Time Difference between Hands (msec)||64.2||70.8||7.4||31.6||88.8||21||16.6||2||16.2||16||160.8||1.8||45||13.8||15.8|
|Odd Subject ID (Nondominant Hand First)||0041||0021||0049||0015||0055||0029||0011||0033||0025||0047||0057||0063||0059||0023|
|Dominant Hand Reaction Time (msec)||225.8||273.6||305.6||227.6||250||313.8||340.8||231.4||220.8||215.6||202||250.6||210||249.2|
|Nondominant Hand Reaction Time (msec)||229.4||277.2||333||318.2||264.8||350.6||343||239.4||258.6||288||244.8||260.4||227.6||252.6|
|Reaction Time Difference between Hands (msec)||3.6||3.6||27.4||90.6||14.8||36.8||2.2||8||37.8||72.4||42.8||9.8||17.6||3.4|
The main findings of this study are that the reaction time of the dominant hand was lower than that of the nondominant hand in all participants, the reaction time of the male participants was quicker than that of the female participants, the reaction time variability of the dominant hand was lower in male than in female participants, and lastly, the reaction time variability of the nondominant hand was higher for the male than in the female participants.
Nobel et al. reported in his study that reaction time (RT) in males is faster than in females of almost every age group, which was concluded in that study as a disadvantage for females and that this disadvantage was not reduced by practice . The authors of that study concluded that this was because women were more cautious and tended to avoid errors more as compared to men, hence are found to be slower in their reactions, thereby making men faster . In the same study, the Nobel et al. also declared that the muscle contraction times for both genders were similar. Nevertheless, women had a lesser error rate given that they have the tendency to inhibit their PVT (Psychomotor Vigilance Task) response better than men do. The behavioral responses reflect a high level of motivation for both males and females. Although the authors of this paper do not agree with the conclusion of women being more “cautious” than men, the results of that study were consistent with the results of this study.
Studies done by Misra et al. , Shelton and Kumar , and Nikam and Gadkari  all reported similar findings and supported the suggested hypothesis that females have slower reaction times than males. Figure 2 demonstrated that the results of this study agree with the aforementioned research findings and indicates that males have faster reaction times when compared to females for both the reaction time and the reaction time variability tests. The data from a study completed by Serrien and her colleagues showed that the preferred hand reacted more quickly than the non-preferred hand, which suggested “an increased response readiness due to hand preference” .
Another finding was that the reaction time and reaction time variabilities of the dominant hand were faster than that of the nondominant hand as it can be seen in Figures 6‒7 respectively. The neurons that carry messages between that of the hand and brain are faster for the dominant hand given that it is used more often. One can improve their motor skills by running the same messages repeatedly along the same pathway. This justifies the scientific expression that says, “Practice makes perfect”. This idea is not only used to compare the reaction time of both hands, it is also used to compare their reaction time variabilities .
A final comparison that was made was the observation of individual differences. This was accomplished by subtracting the reaction time of the dominant hand from that of the nondominant hand. All of the values obtained were positive as it can be seen in Tables 1,2. This demonstrates that the reaction time of the nondominant hand was higher (slower) than that of the dominant hand. In other words, the individual data, on a case-by-case basis, confirms the first hypothesis. In addition, the Two-Sample T-Test determined that a statistically significant difference exists between the averages of two independent sets (Males vs. Females), and also supports the proposed hypothesis.
This study led to several findings. First, the reaction time for the dominant hand was faster than that of the nondominant hand for all participants, thus confirming the first proposed hypothesis. Second, the data supported the second hypothesis, which stated that the male participants had a faster reaction time than the females. Another finding was that the reaction time variability for the dominant hand was lower in males than in females, while for the nondominant hand, the reaction time variability was lower in female’s participants than in male participants.
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Reaction Time of the Dominant and Nondominant Hand. The dominant hand mean reaction times were 33 ms shorter in comparison to the nondominant hand (237 ms vs 270 ms, respectively)....Do people react faster with their dominant hand? ›
Results showed: (1) For single responses and paired responses to simultaneous stimuli, responses by the dominant hand were made significantly faster than by the non-dominant hand. separated by an interval of 100 msec., the dominant responses being made significantly more slowly than the non-dominant responses.Why is reaction time faster with dominant hand? ›
When comparing hands, students will usually find that their dominant hand is faster. Because the dominant hand is used more often every day, the neurons that carry messages between that hand and the brain are faster at transmitting electro-chemical signals. They are communicating along well-worn pathways.Why does my dominant hand have a slower reaction time? ›
Because the dominant hand is used more often, the neurons that carry messages between that hand and the brain are faster at their job. They are communicating along well-worn pathways. By running the same messages along the same pathway repeatedly, students can improve their motor skills.Does using your right hand vs left hand alter your reaction time? ›
The study found a crossed-uncrossed difference of -3.8 milliseconds (ms), while right handers were found to react faster, -2.7ms, than left handers, -4.9ms.Do left handed people have a faster reaction time? ›
Right-handers recognised a right hand faster than a left hand, whereas no significant difference was seen for left-handers.Why is it easier to use your dominant hand? ›
The muscles in the dominant hand are stronger and easier to use, whereas they're less developed in the less dominant hand. A dominant hand is about 10% stronger when gripping objects than a non-dominant hand. This might be genetic or might come from years of preferred use.Is non-dominant hand slower? ›
In short, the dominant hand does indeed tap more quickly than the non-dominant. And this difference is exacerbated if you tap just enough to operate a lever, because the preferred hand is more precise at modulating force, not necessarily quicker at trembling.Is dominant hand always stronger? ›
Conclusion: We concluded that the dominant hand is significantly stronger in right handed subjects but no such significant difference between sides could be documented for left handed people.Can you actually improve reaction time? ›
Unlike reflexes, which aren't processed by the brain, reaction time can be strengthened and improved through lifestyle changes. Cognitive exercises, meditation and mindfulness, and nutritional supplements are all factors that can boost reaction time in a safe and healthy way.
The results showed that gamers who completed a video-games questionnaire before performing the tasks had faster reaction times (RTs) in the Simon task compared with gamers who answered the questionnaire after performing the tasks.How can I improve my hand reaction time? ›
Warm up your hands
Warmth helps your body react faster. Heat means that the atoms in molecules move more quickly, and this translates into faster cell movements from the time you receive a sensory input into a nerve cell until the moment your body reacts to that stimulus.
“One theory is that slow reaction time might reflect deterioration of other bodily systems, such as the brain and nervous system. Perhaps people who are slower to react are also more unhealthy, or forget to do things which might keep them healthy.” According to Dr.What does it mean if you have a slow reaction time? ›
Reaction time may indicate how well our central nervous and other systems in the body are working. People who are consistently slow to respond to new information may go on to experience problems that increase their risk of early death. In the future, we may be able to use reaction times to monitor health and survival.What causes poor reaction time? ›
Some factors are outside of our control — such as age, left or right-handedness, and whether the stimulus is visual or auditory. Other factors that affect reaction times are within our control, like our level of physical fitness, the presence of distractions, and how much fatigue we're experiencing.Can you switch hand dominance? ›
Despite our genetic predispositions, however, many people do change handedness. Mostly, they are forced to switch as a result of injury, Porac says. She has seen many cases, mostly long-time righties who had to go left. "If they're forced to, they can switch a lot of their behaviors," she says.Which finger has the best reaction time? ›
Thumb and little finger are the quickest
The researchers set subjects a simple task to measure the speed of decision: they showed them an image on a monitor that represented all ten fingers.
Reflexes do play a role in reaction time. Some people are born with faster reflexes. Electrical impulses actually travel more quickly through their nerves. But you can also speed up nerve conduction through practice.Do left handers have better memory? ›
Lefties--or at least relatives of lefties--may be better than right-handed people at remembering events, according to a new study. Since the mid-1980s, scientists have known that the two brain hemispheres of left-handers are more strongly connected than those of right-handers.What makes being left-handed special? ›
Lefties make up only about 10 percent of the population, but studies find that individuals who are left-handed score higher when it comes to creativity, imagination, daydreaming and intuition. They're also better at rhythm and visualization.
Aussie prof finds that left-handed people are better at managing information during certain complex tasks, including video game playing. Gamers may have a new excuse for losing against their friends--their left-handed friends, that is.What happens if you lose your dominant hand? ›
For people whose dominant hand has been amputated, these difficulties are twofold. First, they have to get used to doing everything with one hand. Secondly, they also need to train their non-dominant hand to function as well as their dominant one.What age does hand dominance develop? ›
A: Hand dominance is your preferred hand used for writing, coloring, eating, and cutting. A hand dominance usually starts to develop between the ages two to four, however it is common at this stage for children to swap hands. By age four a clear hand dominance is usually established.How much stronger hand is dominant? ›
The purpose of this study was to test the utility of the 10% rule in hand rehabilitation. The 10% rule states that the dominant hand possesses a 10% greater grip strength than the nondominant hand. This rule has been used for many years to assist therapists in setting strength goals for patients with injured hands.How rare is it to not have a dominant hand? ›
Mixed-handedness or cross-dominance is the change of hand preference between different tasks. This is very uncommon in the population with less than 1% prevalence.Why is my non-dominant hand better? ›
While your dominant hand excels at precision movements, your non-dominant hand has better stability. That's why someone who's right-handed might hold a package in their left while opening a door with the right.Does training your non-dominant hand make you smarter? ›
A stronger neural connection doesn't equal a smarter brain
And people do perform tasks better with their non-dominant hand after training. But the gains are limited to the particular task or skill that is being trained and not the entire brain.
Cross-dominance may also be known as mixed laterality, which refers to a person favouring motor skills on one side of the body, including a foot, eye and/ or ear. A person who is cross-dominant may also be stronger on the opposite side of the body that they prefer.Are Strong hands genetic? ›
Hand grip strength (HGS) is an inherited trait; about 65% of a person's grip strength is genetically determined, whereas the remaining 35% depends on training and developmental factors such as nutrition. Past studies have connected HGS to various measures of physical condition, including bone density and longevity.Which finger has 50% of the strength in your hand? ›
The pinkie holds as much as 50% of your hand strength. The pinkie along with the ring finger forms the power bottom of your hand while the thumb, index finger, and middle finger provide dexterity. In fact, losing your little finger and ring finger can reduce your grip strength by 67%.
- Video games to practice anticipation. ...
- Yoga to manage reactive stress. ...
- Paddle sports for hand-eye coordination. ...
- Interval drills with sprints. ...
- Natalie Saldana Vice President Sales Southwest:
- Hockey. In hockey, a major challenge is that players need to control and follow a puck that moves at incredible speeds. ...
- Soccer. ...
- Boxing. ...
- Motor Sports. ...
- Racket Sports.
American kids between 9 and 10 years of age who spent more time playing video games experienced a significant increase in their intelligence scores when retested two years later -- amounting to an extra 2.5 IQ points above the average.Are gamers smarter than average? ›
The results showed that those who played more games than the average increased their intelligence between the two measurements by approximately 2.5 IQ points more than the average. No significant effect was observed, positive or negative, of TV-watching or social media.Do gamers learn faster? ›
A new study finds that gamers — people who regularly play video games — are faster learners and have more active brains than those who don't play at all.Does age affect reaction time? ›
INTRODUCTION. Adult human reaction times in response to simple tasks slow with age at a rate of 2–6 ms per decade (1–3). More complex tasks are associated with greater reaction time differences between healthy young and old participants (3).What is a good reaction time? ›
The average reaction time to visual stimulus is around 250 milliseconds, and most people seem to be hard capped at around 190-200 ms with training.What are 5 exercises for reaction time? ›
- Reactive Gear Drill. Level 3. ...
- Reactive Sprint and Backpedal Drill. Level 3. ...
- Wave Drill. Level 3. ...
- Shuffle Reaction Ball Drill. Level 3. ...
- Ball Drops Drill. Level 3.
Individuals with ADHD did not evince slower processing speed (mean RT) after accounting for RTV. Comparison with clinical control groups reveals that RT variability is not specific to ADHD. RTV is a stable feature of ADHD & other clinical disorders observed across diverse tasks and methods.Does ADHD make you react slower? ›
They can also have slower reaction times and lapses of attention. ADHD is one of several health conditions that can cause brain fog.
After studying 3,305 people ages 16 to 44, researchers found that the brain's response time begins to decline at age 24.What part of the brain controls reaction time? ›
The brain stem, which consists of the medulla (an enlarged portion of the upper spinal cord), pons and midbrain (lower animals have only a medulla). The brain stem controls the reflexes and automatic functions (heart rate, blood pressure), limb movements and visceral functions (digestion, urination).What does your reaction time say about you? ›
Reaction time can help measure brain health.
Because reaction time depends on central nervous system processing speed. Thus, visual reaction time is a critical factor in higher cognitive functions. The healthier the brain, the faster its processing speed, memory and thinking skills.
Reaction time to sounds and visual information is on average 0.13–0.18 s, without consideration of speed of sound. It is determined by genetic factors and age, and it changes during effort; for instance, its value decreases/improves during loading and it is impaired by fatigue.What affects your reaction time the most? ›
On the road, distractions, speed, driving experience, and physical and cognitive fitness can seriously affect reaction times. Even drivers with relatively quick reaction times in normal circumstances may see drastic changes based on distractions, driving under the influence, sleepiness, acute illnesses or stress.What can affect your reaction time? ›
Many factors have been shown to affect reaction times, including age, gender, physical fitness, fatigue, distraction, alcohol, personality type, and whether the stimulus is auditory or visual.How does personality type affect reaction time? ›
Brebner (1980) found that extroverted personality types had faster reaction times, and Welford (1980) and Nettelbeck (1973) said that anxious personality types had faster reaction times.
Many factors have been shown to affect reaction time including gender, age, physical fitness, level of fatigue, distraction, alcohol, personality type, limb used for test, biological rhythm, and health and whether the stimulus is auditory or visual . Reaction time is independent of social-cultural influences.Which side can develop faster response left or right side? ›
Given that about 90% of people are right-handed, it might not seem too surprising that most people can perform faster and more precise movements with their right hand than their left.At what age is dominant hand determined? ›
A hand preference usually starts to develop between the ages of 2 to 4, however it is common at this stage for children to swap hands. Between the ages of 4 to 6 years a clear hand preference is usually established.
Unlike reflexes, which aren't processed by the brain, reaction time can be strengthened and improved through lifestyle changes. Cognitive exercises, meditation and mindfulness, and nutritional supplements are all factors that can boost reaction time in a safe and healthy way.Why do I have slow reflexes? ›
Reflexes do slow with age. Physical changes in nerve fibers slow the speed of conduction. And the parts of the brain involved in motor control lose cells over time. But the effect of age on reflexes and reaction time varies greatly from person to person.Do gamers have faster reflexes? ›
Bavelier and other researchers found that adolescents who played action video games had much faster reaction times, but were no less accurate, and performed as well on tests of impulsivity and sustained attention as nonplayers.Which finger is connected to the brain? ›
The thumb represents the brain, the index finger represents the liver/gall bladder. The middle finger represents heart, the ring finger represents hormones and the little finger or pinky represents digestion.