Sex differences in motor performance and motor learning in children and adolescents: An increasing male advantage in motor learning and consolidation phase gains

Shoshi Dorfberger, Esther Adi-Japha, Avi Karni

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    98 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    We investigated gender differences in motor performance in 9-, 12-, and 17-year-olds. The tasks included simple thumb tapping (sTT), handwriting (HW) and finger-to-thumb opposition sequence (FOS) learning. In sTT there was a significant advantage for the 17-year-old males. In HW, 12-year-old females were faster, initially, than the males, but this gap was closed by a single training session; in the 17-year-olds although no significant difference was found initially, the males became faster than the age-matched females post-training. In the FOS, there were no initial gender differences (speed or accuracy). However, males benefited more from training, with the 17-year-old males attaining a significant post-training speed advantage. Moreover, males, of all three age-groups, evolved significantly larger delayed ("off-line") performance gains in the FOS task compared to females; gains which were retained 6-weeks post-training. There may be a male advantage in motor learning rather than in motor performance per-se; this advantage is enhanced during adolescence.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)165-171
    Number of pages7
    JournalBehavioural Brain Research
    Volume198
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2 Mar 2009

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    SD was supported in part by a stipend by the Wolf Foundation.

    Keywords

    • Development
    • Memory consolidation
    • Sex differences
    • Skill learning

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