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Research Article  |   May 2007
Semantic Priming of Motor Task Performance in Young Adults: Implications for Occupational Therapy
Author Affiliations
  • Jennifer A. Grossi, MSOT, OTR/L, is Occupational Therapist, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH 44104
  • Kinsuk K. Maitra, PhD, OTR/L, is Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy Department, College of Health Science and Human Service, Mail Stop 1027, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH 43614; Kinsuk.Maitra@utoledo.edu
  • Martin S. Rice, PhD, OTR/L, is Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy Department, College of Health Science and Human Service, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH; Martin.Rice@utoledo.edu
Article Information
Work and Industry / Mental and Semantic Priming in Adult Motor Control
Research Article   |   May 2007
Semantic Priming of Motor Task Performance in Young Adults: Implications for Occupational Therapy
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May/June 2007, Vol. 61, 311-320. doi:10.5014/ajot.61.3.311
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May/June 2007, Vol. 61, 311-320. doi:10.5014/ajot.61.3.311
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. To investigate whether the performance of a multisegment motor task is influenced by reading a segment-specific action word.

METHOD. Twenty-four participants performed tasks that involved reaching for a bottle, grasping it, lifting and placing it on a shelf, and returning their hand to the starting position. At the initiation of each task, participants read either aloud or silently five randomly provided, task-related words (reach, grasp, lift, place, and return).

RESULTS. Reading task-related words significantly affected the reach and lift/place segments in the direction of the hypothesis (p < 0.05) but not the return segments. Grasp times were shorter and grasp velocities were higher when participants read aloud or silently the words grasp and place for the grasp segment (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSION. The results suggest that in young adults, motor performance may be influenced by precuing or priming the brain with performance-related words. A meaning of a motor performance can be manipulated by contextually relevant language, which can facilitate performance.