Improving performance in an office environment via training the non-dominant hand on the computer mouse: A study of learning curve of the non-dominant hand and the bilateral transfer effect to the dominant hand
Date of Award
Master of Science
Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering
Richard T Stone
Operating a computer mouse is a daily task in the workplace and is primarily completed with the right hand due to workstation setup, forming hand dominance. By consistently using the same hand on the mouse over many years, people can develop repetitive use injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, and performance on the computer can come to a natural stagnation. This study examined training the non-dominant hand on the computer mouse, during a typical work week, to examine the effect on performance of the dominant hand due to bilateral transfer of learning. The performance and learning curve of the non-dominant hand on the computer mouse and the effect weekend breaks had on performance were also analyzed. Previous research on bilateral transfer of upper and lower extremities has demonstrated improvement to the dominant limb from training the non-dominant limb. Additionally, research has shown there is an ability to improve the performance of the non-dominant hand through training for a variety of tasks. However, current research on the effectiveness of bilateral transfer and training of the non-dominant hand does not have a practical application related to improving performance in industry, which our research addresses. Eleven right-handed computer mouse users trained their non-dominant hand for 15 minutes a day, five days per week, for six weeks. After training, significant improvements were observed in performance, based on click speed and accuracy, of both the dominant and non-dominant hand. Further, the non-dominant hand took, on average, 13.6 days to reach the dominant hand's initial performance level with a 95% confidence interval ranging from 6.7 days to 20.4 days. Weekend breaks from training initially caused a performance decline, but the decline was significantly reduced by the end of the study. Thus, our results show that training the non-dominant hand on the computer mouse allows for improved performance for both the dominant and non-dominant hand while also providing safer, more sustainable, and more achievable work in a multitude of economies.
Drew Stephen Schweiger
Schweiger, Drew Stephen, "Improving performance in an office environment via training the non-dominant hand on the computer mouse: A study of learning curve of the non-dominant hand and the bilateral transfer effect to the dominant hand" (2020). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 17928.