Control modes and task complexity in tracing and handwriting performance

Henry S R Kao, Tan Lei Shek, Elbert S P Lee

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Two common modes of handwriting control are tracing and free-hand writing. Two experiments were conducted to examine writing time and writing pressure in handwriting performance under the tracing mode and the free-hand mode of writing control. Experiment 1 investigated writing performance on six task configurations, viz., circles, unbroken straight lines and broken straight lines at 45°, 90° and 135° angles, and a straight line with movement reversal at halfway point, all in the tracing mode of control. Results showed no difference in writing time or writing pressure among the task configurations and were consistent with the complexity-independency hypothesis (Kao et al. 1982) proposed for the tracing mode of handwriting. Experiment 2 investigated writing performance in 26 Roman letters in the free-hand mode of writing control. Results showed both writing time and writing pressure to be a function of an increase of task complexity. A complexity-dependency hypothesis for the increase of writing pressure relative to task complexity in the free-hand mode of handwriting is suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-77
Number of pages9
JournalActa Psychologica
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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