The effect of handedness in tactile speech perception

J. Z. Sarant*, R. S.C. Cowan, P. J. Blamey, K. L. Galvin, G. M. Clark

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This study examined differential performance of normally hearing subjects using a tactile device on the dominant versus non-dominant hand. The study evaluated whether tactual sensitivity for non-speech stimuli was greater for the dominant hand as compared with the non-dominant hand, and secondly, whether there was an advantage for speech presented tactually to the dominant hand, resulting from a preferential pathway to the language processing area in the left cerebral hemisphere. Evaluations of threshold pulse width, dynamic ranges, paired electrode identification, and a closed-set tactual pattern discrimination test battery showed no difference in tactual sensitivity measures between the two hands. Speech perception was assessed with closed sets of vowels and consonants and with open-set Harvey Gardner (HG) words and Arthur Boothroyd (AB) words. Group mean scores were higher in each of the tactually aided conditions as compared with the unaided conditions for speech tests, with the exception of AB words in the tactile plus lip-reading plus audition/lip-reading plus audition condition on the right hand. Overall mean scores on the closed-set vowel test and on open-set HG and AB words were significantly higher for the tactually aided condition as compared with the unaided condition. Comparison of performance between the dominant and non-dominant hand showed a significant advantage for the dominant hand on the closed-set vowel test only. No significant differences between hands in either tactually aided or unaided conditions were evident for any of the other speech perception tests. Factors influencing this result could have been variations in degree of difficulty of the tests, the amount of training subjects received, or the training strategy employed. Although an advantage to presenting speech through the dominant hand may exist, it is unlikely to be great enough to outweigh possible restrictions on everyday use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-435
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of rehabilitation research and development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • lip-reading
  • multichannel electrotactile speech processor (Tickle Talker)
  • normally hearing subjects
  • speech perception


Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of handedness in tactile speech perception'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this