The influence of attention and age on the occurrence of mirror movements

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Baliz, Yasmin, Armatas, Christine, Farrow, Maree, Hoy, K, Fitzgerald, P, Bradshaw, John ORCID: 0000-0002-8714-5231 and Georgiou-Karistianis, N (2005) The influence of attention and age on the occurrence of mirror movements. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 11 (7). pp. 855-862. ISSN 1355-6177


This study utilised a finger force task to investigate the influence of attention and age on the occurrence of motor overflow in the form of mirror movements in neurologically intact adults. Forty right-handed participants were recruited from three age groups: 20–30 years, 40–50 years, and 60–70 years. Participants were required to maintain a target force using both their index and middle fingers, representing 50% of their maximum strength capacity for that hand. Attention was directed to a hand by activating a bone conduction vibrator attached to the small finger of that hand. Based on Cabeza’s (2002) model of hemispheric asymmetry reduction in older adults, it was hypothesised that mirror movements would increase with age. Furthermore, it was expected that when the attentional demands of the task were increased, motor overflow occurrence would be exacerbated for the older adult group. The results obtained provide support for the model, and qualified support for the hypothesis that increasing the attentional demands of a task results in greater motor overflow. It is proposed that the association between mirror movements and age observed in this study may result from an age-related increase in bihemispheric activation that occurs in older adults, who, unlike younger adults, benefit from bihemispheric processing for task performance.

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Additional Information

Online ISSN: 1469-7661

Item type Article
DOI 10.1017/S1355617705051003
Official URL
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Faculty of Business and Law
Keywords ResPubID22157. aging, age, corpus callosum, motor cortex, motor skills, corticospinal tract, movement disorders, attention, mirror movements, bihemispheric activation
Citations in Scopus 48 - View on Scopus
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