Date of Award

Summer 2001

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Factors & Systems


Human Factors and Systems

Committee Chair

Dennis A. Vincenzi, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sathya Gangadharan, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Steven Hall, Ph.D.


Handedness is a very critical factor involving single or multiple tasks that are designed for a specific hand. The purpose of this research was to investigate the effect of proper tool design. This research identified the dominant hand and measured task completion time between each of two tasks, 1) the use of left and right-handed scissors using the right hand, and 2) Mouse Manipulation Task using the calculator provided by the computer with a left and right-handed mouse using the right hand. Annett’s (1995) 12-item questionnaire was used to identify the preferred hand. This questionnaire consisted of having the participants answer questions about performance on a number of habitual acts in which the roles of the right and left hand are sharply distinguished.

Does the completion time of specific tasks differ across left and right-handed people when using “proper” and “improper” tools? The hypothesis stated that the task completion time between the preferred hand with “proper” and “improper” tools would be different. The justification for this study was the lack of knowledge that many individuals have with regard to the problem of handedness while performing manual tasks in industry, education, and everyday life. The conclusions of these experiments have implications for industrial and aerospace performance of left and right-handed individuals.

Selection of operators for industrial, aerospace, mail distribution, domestic tasks, and school tasks, as well as many other tasks, may be dependent on handedness of the person, particularly when machines are designed for a specific hand. If lefthanders are confronted with tools and workstations which are disadvantageous for them, negative effects on work performance, work satisfaction, and work safety may be experienced.

Included in

Ergonomics Commons