The acquisition and development of motor skill is an important aspect in human development. Children's motor skills have been investigated for many decades as the developmental milestones and have been used as a scale to describe children's developmental level by researchers. However,studies on the characteristics and the development of culturally related motor skill are very limited.
Investigating culturally related motor skill will be very helpful to understand the nature and developmental course of human motor skill. Chopstick using is not only a necessary operation in the daily lives in eastern countries, but also one of the typical fine motor skills which are very important for the functional activities in early child development. In the present study,the characteristics and the development of chopstick using skills were investigated by comparing the types and frequencies of chopstick using gestures in 3-7 year old children and adults.
181 participants were included in this study. 91 children aged from 3-5 and 60 pupils aged from 6-7 were selected from one kindergarten and one primary school as the children group. 30 undergraduates were selected as the adult group. Wooden objects in different sizes were used in this study. Participants were asked to hold and move the objects from one testing board to another with a pair of chopsticks. Their gestures and actions were photographed.
Results indicated that 8 kinds of chopstick using gestures were found in both children and adults and they differed in the relative position of each finger,the interplay between fingers and chopsticks, the space of the palm and the agility in dealing with different tasks etc. The frequencies of Gesture Two, Five and Six were very low both in children and adults, which showed that similarity existed between children and adults,and the gestures used during early ages may have some effect later. With age increase,more and more people tended to use the more efficient gesture. In children, frequencies of the more efficient gesture (Gesture Type One) changed from 3.7% in 3 year olds to 23.1% in 7 year olds,while frequency of the lower efficient gesture (Gesture Type Four) changed from 59.3% to 23.1% accordingly. In adults, frequency of Gesture Type One was 50%,which was significantly higher than the ones in children, while frequency of Gesture Type Four was 10%, which was significantly lower than the ones in children.
2001. Vol. 33, no 3, 40-46 p.