The significance of clumsy gestures in apraxia following a left hemisphere stroke

Maria Kangas*, Robyn Tate

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Individuals who sustain a cerebrovascular accident (CVA) in the dominant (typically left) hemisphere, are at increased risk of developing motor skill deficits due to motor-sensory impairments, as well as cognitive impairments (e.g., apraxia). Clumsiness is a central component affecting motor skills in individuals with a left hemisphere CVA (LCVA). The term "clumsiness" however, has not been adequately operationalised in the apraxia literature in clinical terms, thereby making diagnosis difficult and its contribution to apraxic disorders uncertain. Accordingly, in this study "clumsiness" was explicitly defined by establishing a set of four criteria. The non-dominant (left) hand movements of three groups of participants were examined: 10 individuals with limb-apraxia (APX); 8 individuals without limb apraxia who had sustained a LCVA (NAPX); and 19 healthy individuals without a history of brain impairment (NBD). Performance was examined on four sets of motor tasks, including a conventional praxis test, basic perceptual-motor co-ordination and fine movement tasks, and a naturalistic actions test. A striking finding that emerged was that clumsy errors occurred frequently in all groups, including the NBD group, particularly on the praxis and fine motor tasks. In terms of quantity of clumsy errors emitted, the APX group made significantly more clumsy gestures across all four tasks in comparison to the NBD group. No differences emerged between the two clinical groups, however, in terms of total clumsy gestures emitted on the naturalistic action tasks, or the type of clumsy errors emitted on the fine motor tasks. Thus, frequency and types of clumsy gestures were partly determined by task demands. These results highlight the need to consider the contribution of clumsy gestures in limb functioning following hemispheric brain damage. In broad terms, these findings emphasise the importance of adopting more detailed analyses of movement errors in apraxia and assessments of cognitive-based motor functioning following brain impairment.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)38-65
    Number of pages28
    JournalNeuropsychological Rehabilitation
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006


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