Dexterity and Its Development

By Mark L. Latash; Michael T. Turvey et al. | Go to book overview
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Essay 7
Dexterity and Its Features

WHAT DO WE ALREADY KNOW ABOUT DEXTERITY?

Since the first essay, which was fully dedicated to discussing dexterity, it has remained in the background. We have become successively familiar with the problem of the control of the motor apparatus and with the history of the development of movements on Earth. We have analyzed the structure of our brain apparatus controlling our movements and the levels controlling movements of different purposes and complexity. Finally, we have outlined the process of construction of a motor skill. Throughout these essays, it appeared that we were not discussing dexterity itself.

On the contrary, if we think again about all the topics presented in the previous essays, it turns out that we have learned quite a bit about dexterity. Aside from the fact that knowledge of motor physiology has prepared us for a deeper analysis and characterization of dexterity, in this essay, as we are about to see just now, we are already much better acquainted with dexterity than is at first apparent. First let us summarize some of the important points.

First of all, we have come to the conclusion that our movement organs are very recalcitrant tools, which pose serious problems for control.

The problems arise both from their passive components, the skeletal-articular apparatus, because of its numerous degrees of freedom, and from the engines, the muscles, because of their complex and peculiar physiological and mechanical properties. An increase in the complexity of motor tasks leads to an increase in the

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