Degree of Preference and Its Influence on Motor Control When Reaching for Most Preferred, Neutrally Preferred, and Least Preferred Candy

OTJR (Thorofare N J). 2015 Apr;35(2):81-8. doi: 10.1177/1539449214561763.


The objective of this study was to determine whether reaching for objects with varying levels of preference associated with them elicited influenced motor control in a reaching task. Forty healthy adults were asked to reach for seven different types of candy, which they ranked by personal preference from being the most preferred to the least preferred. In this repeated measures design, data were analyzed on 39 participants who tended to demonstrate greater movement efficiency in movement time and movement units when reaching for candy in which they associated with greater preference (p < .0 167). Although no differences were found between conditions with peak velocity and percentage of movement time to peak velocity (p > .0167), these dependent variables appeared to trend in the direction of similar movement efficiency. Therapists can use this knowledge to help guide clinical reasoning when designing treatment plans and approaches. Future research is needed to further examine intensity along the continuum of preference and its implications for occupational therapy practice.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Candy*
  • Female
  • Food Preferences / physiology*
  • Food Preferences / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Object Attachment
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Random Allocation
  • Reference Values
  • Time and Motion Studies
  • Young Adult