Small-muscle Movement and Its Effect on Cognitive Functions

Timothy R. Meyer


This thesis study provides the ground work for exploring ways to improve the cognitive state of an operator as needed. Small-muscle warm-up such as hand and finger movement, is widely unexplored for its effects on cognitive performance. The experiment investigates the use of a hand and finger warm-up activity and its effects on reaction time, categorization, impulse control, episodic memory, and visual spatial (VS) working memory. Sixteen participants each completed five cognitive measurement activities under two different conditions: preceded by a hand and finger warm-up activity and also preceded by a relaxed state activity. Results showed that hand and finger activity significantly increased reaction time in three measures of cognitive performance, the largest increase being a reaction time of 8 milliseconds faster in the treatment condition than under the control condition. The analysis also suggested an increase in episodic memory. The findings of this study show that small muscular movements do have a significant effect on cognitive functions.