FACTORS INFLUENCING CHANGES IN TWEEZER DEXTERITY SCORES FOLLOWING YOGA TRAINING N. K. Manjunath and Shirley Telles* Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research Foundation, Bangalore, India.
( Received on July 1, 1998 )
Abstract: Yoga has already been shown to improve perceptual-motor skills, but the factors which influence its effects are not well defined. This study correlates age, gender, and motivation to learn yoga with the performance in a dexterity task following yoga. Tweezer dexterity was recorded in eighty subjects belonging to four groups. Two groups were given a month of yoga training. One group consisted of subjects who had volunteered to join for the training and the other group was deputed for the training as part of their job. The two remaining groups did not receive yoga training and were selected to match the respective groups receiving yoga, for age and sex, but not for their motivation to learn yoga. The test involved using a tweezer to place metal pins in evenly spaced holes in a metal plate within four minutes. Following yoga the scores of the volunteers who learnt yoga increased significantly, whereas there was no change in scores of deputed subjects and non-yoga groups. For reasons described in detail, factors such as age and gender did not appear to contribute to the difference in performance. Hence motivation to learn yoga appeared to influence the magnitude of increase. Key words: Tweezer dexterity; yoga; motivation. INTRODUCTION The practice of yoga requires active participation of the subject. Hence the effect of factors such as the motivation to receive yoga training, as well as the subject’s age and gender may be expected to influence the outcome. This is interesting to study as yoga training is increasingly being included as part of the routine program of various institutions ranging from schools (1) to jails (2), where subjects with different backgrounds and levels of interest in the program may participate. The performance in perceptual-motor tasks requiring skill and attentiveness such as mirror star tracing (3) and hand steadiness (4, 5) was reported to improve following the practice of yoga. The present study compared scores in a dexterity task following yoga between two groups which differed with respect of their age, gender and motivation to learn yoga. Previous reports have shown that the performance in a peg moving task was stable between the third and fifth decade of life (6). Hence age differences may not be expected to contribute to baseline differences in performance in a motor task, though the correlation with performance after yoga has not been worked out. However gender does make a difference to dexterity, as a previous report (7) has shown that females have a higher baseline score on a dexterity task than males. The effect of gender on performance following yoga has also not been studied. Hence in the present study an attempt was made to understand the relative contribution of each of these factors (i.e., age, gender, and motivation to learn yoga) to the performance after yoga.