Performance and muscle activity during computer mouse tasks in young and elderly adults

B. Laursen, B. R. Jensen, Aivaras Ratkevicius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

60 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The influence of age on performance and muscle activity was studied during computer mouse tasks designed to induce high demands on motor control. Eight young (mean age 25 years) and nine elderly (mean age 63 years) women participated. When the speed was self-determined, the elderly subjects performed 13%-18% slower than did the young. When speed was predefined, the error rate was higher in the elderly subjects than in the young ones (medium precision 7.8% compared to 2.5%, high precision 16.5% compared to 7.9%, respectively). The highest error rate was found for double-clicking (32.9% compared to 13.5%, respectively). The reduced performance in the elderly subjects was hypothesised to be a combined effect of deteriorated proprioception, increased motor unit size, and changes in the central nervous system. Electrical activity (EMG) was recorded from the forearm, shoulder and neck muscles. Higher levels of EMG activity were found in the elderly compared to the young. A likely explanation is that the impaired motor control necessitated an increased muscle activity. The highest levels of EMG activity and lack of EMG gaps were found for the forearm extensor muscles, especially the extensor digitorum muscle (mean EMG activity 10.4% compared to 8.1% of maximal electrical activity, EMG(max)) whereas lower EMG activity levels were found for the shoulder region (e.g. right trapezius muscle mean EMG 2.8% compared to 1.1% EMG(max), respectively). The latter was possibly due to a relieving effect of the forearm support. Differences in muscle activity among the tasks were found, however they were minor for the shoulder and neck muscles. Consideration of the demands on motor control when designing user interfaces is recommended, to the benefit of both the young and the elderly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-336
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Volume84
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2001

Keywords

  • electromyography
  • aging
  • forearm
  • shoulder
  • motor control
  • HUMAN HAND MUSCLE
  • AGE
  • WORK
  • PRECISION
  • LOAD
  • SLOWNESS
  • DEMANDS
  • PATTERN
  • FORCE
  • SPEED

Cite this

Performance and muscle activity during computer mouse tasks in young and elderly adults. / Laursen, B.; Jensen, B. R.; Ratkevicius, Aivaras.

In: European Journal of Applied Physiology, Vol. 84, No. 4, 04.2001, p. 329-336.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Laursen, B. ; Jensen, B. R. ; Ratkevicius, Aivaras. / Performance and muscle activity during computer mouse tasks in young and elderly adults. In: European Journal of Applied Physiology. 2001 ; Vol. 84, No. 4. pp. 329-336.
@article{053bf3ad660f4fbd9b9509fb0a918cde,
title = "Performance and muscle activity during computer mouse tasks in young and elderly adults",
abstract = "The influence of age on performance and muscle activity was studied during computer mouse tasks designed to induce high demands on motor control. Eight young (mean age 25 years) and nine elderly (mean age 63 years) women participated. When the speed was self-determined, the elderly subjects performed 13{\%}-18{\%} slower than did the young. When speed was predefined, the error rate was higher in the elderly subjects than in the young ones (medium precision 7.8{\%} compared to 2.5{\%}, high precision 16.5{\%} compared to 7.9{\%}, respectively). The highest error rate was found for double-clicking (32.9{\%} compared to 13.5{\%}, respectively). The reduced performance in the elderly subjects was hypothesised to be a combined effect of deteriorated proprioception, increased motor unit size, and changes in the central nervous system. Electrical activity (EMG) was recorded from the forearm, shoulder and neck muscles. Higher levels of EMG activity were found in the elderly compared to the young. A likely explanation is that the impaired motor control necessitated an increased muscle activity. The highest levels of EMG activity and lack of EMG gaps were found for the forearm extensor muscles, especially the extensor digitorum muscle (mean EMG activity 10.4{\%} compared to 8.1{\%} of maximal electrical activity, EMG(max)) whereas lower EMG activity levels were found for the shoulder region (e.g. right trapezius muscle mean EMG 2.8{\%} compared to 1.1{\%} EMG(max), respectively). The latter was possibly due to a relieving effect of the forearm support. Differences in muscle activity among the tasks were found, however they were minor for the shoulder and neck muscles. Consideration of the demands on motor control when designing user interfaces is recommended, to the benefit of both the young and the elderly.",
keywords = "electromyography, aging, forearm, shoulder, motor control, HUMAN HAND MUSCLE, AGE, WORK, PRECISION, LOAD, SLOWNESS, DEMANDS, PATTERN, FORCE, SPEED",
author = "B. Laursen and Jensen, {B. R.} and Aivaras Ratkevicius",
year = "2001",
month = "4",
doi = "10.1007/s004210000367",
language = "English",
volume = "84",
pages = "329--336",
journal = "European Journal of Applied Physiology",
issn = "1439-6319",
publisher = "Springer Verlag",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Performance and muscle activity during computer mouse tasks in young and elderly adults

AU - Laursen, B.

AU - Jensen, B. R.

AU - Ratkevicius, Aivaras

PY - 2001/4

Y1 - 2001/4

N2 - The influence of age on performance and muscle activity was studied during computer mouse tasks designed to induce high demands on motor control. Eight young (mean age 25 years) and nine elderly (mean age 63 years) women participated. When the speed was self-determined, the elderly subjects performed 13%-18% slower than did the young. When speed was predefined, the error rate was higher in the elderly subjects than in the young ones (medium precision 7.8% compared to 2.5%, high precision 16.5% compared to 7.9%, respectively). The highest error rate was found for double-clicking (32.9% compared to 13.5%, respectively). The reduced performance in the elderly subjects was hypothesised to be a combined effect of deteriorated proprioception, increased motor unit size, and changes in the central nervous system. Electrical activity (EMG) was recorded from the forearm, shoulder and neck muscles. Higher levels of EMG activity were found in the elderly compared to the young. A likely explanation is that the impaired motor control necessitated an increased muscle activity. The highest levels of EMG activity and lack of EMG gaps were found for the forearm extensor muscles, especially the extensor digitorum muscle (mean EMG activity 10.4% compared to 8.1% of maximal electrical activity, EMG(max)) whereas lower EMG activity levels were found for the shoulder region (e.g. right trapezius muscle mean EMG 2.8% compared to 1.1% EMG(max), respectively). The latter was possibly due to a relieving effect of the forearm support. Differences in muscle activity among the tasks were found, however they were minor for the shoulder and neck muscles. Consideration of the demands on motor control when designing user interfaces is recommended, to the benefit of both the young and the elderly.

AB - The influence of age on performance and muscle activity was studied during computer mouse tasks designed to induce high demands on motor control. Eight young (mean age 25 years) and nine elderly (mean age 63 years) women participated. When the speed was self-determined, the elderly subjects performed 13%-18% slower than did the young. When speed was predefined, the error rate was higher in the elderly subjects than in the young ones (medium precision 7.8% compared to 2.5%, high precision 16.5% compared to 7.9%, respectively). The highest error rate was found for double-clicking (32.9% compared to 13.5%, respectively). The reduced performance in the elderly subjects was hypothesised to be a combined effect of deteriorated proprioception, increased motor unit size, and changes in the central nervous system. Electrical activity (EMG) was recorded from the forearm, shoulder and neck muscles. Higher levels of EMG activity were found in the elderly compared to the young. A likely explanation is that the impaired motor control necessitated an increased muscle activity. The highest levels of EMG activity and lack of EMG gaps were found for the forearm extensor muscles, especially the extensor digitorum muscle (mean EMG activity 10.4% compared to 8.1% of maximal electrical activity, EMG(max)) whereas lower EMG activity levels were found for the shoulder region (e.g. right trapezius muscle mean EMG 2.8% compared to 1.1% EMG(max), respectively). The latter was possibly due to a relieving effect of the forearm support. Differences in muscle activity among the tasks were found, however they were minor for the shoulder and neck muscles. Consideration of the demands on motor control when designing user interfaces is recommended, to the benefit of both the young and the elderly.

KW - electromyography

KW - aging

KW - forearm

KW - shoulder

KW - motor control

KW - HUMAN HAND MUSCLE

KW - AGE

KW - WORK

KW - PRECISION

KW - LOAD

KW - SLOWNESS

KW - DEMANDS

KW - PATTERN

KW - FORCE

KW - SPEED

U2 - 10.1007/s004210000367

DO - 10.1007/s004210000367

M3 - Article

VL - 84

SP - 329

EP - 336

JO - European Journal of Applied Physiology

JF - European Journal of Applied Physiology

SN - 1439-6319

IS - 4

ER -