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Alcohol –Effects on Manual Dexterity and Performance

Alcohol –Effects on Manual Dexterity and Performance



In early times, when substance agriculture was the norm, alcoholic beverages, usually beer or mead (Fermented honey and water), provided a substantial percentage of calories in diet.  Today people drink alcohol to relax and socialize to get high, or because they physically addicted to it.

Alcohol is a psycho – active substance that affect the central nervous system (CNS).  It has its ingredient as ethyl or ethanol produced by yeast fermentation of natural sugars in plants, such as grapes (wine), or rice (saki) hops (beer) sugar cane (rum) agave (tequila).  The process of fermenting plants to produce alcohol is at least 10,000 years old and appears to have developed independently in many cultures.

Alcohol affects almost every system of the body.  Research suggest that when alcohol is consume in moderation there are some health benefits and some health risks.  Heavy use of alcohol has no health benefits and many health risks.  The federal dietary guidelines for Americans, 2005.  Define moderate alcohol consumption as one drink per day for women and tor drink per a day for men.  These difference by gender is because women tend to be smaller than men and their bodies contain a lower percentage of water, so an equivalent amount of alcohol in a woman’s  bloodstream will be concentrated than in man’s.

Some fo the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption.  Good evidence based on more than 100 studies shows that moderate alcohol consumption can help prevent heart attack, sudden cardiac death, peripheral vascular disease and stroke caused by blood clots (Ischemic stroke).  The risk of these diseases is reduced between 25% and 40% in both men and women.

The reduction is seen in both people who have no apparent heart disease because they have type A diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), angina (chest pain), or have already had one heart attack.  The researchers suggest that these protective effect occurs because alcohol increase the amount of HDL or “good” cholesterol and also affect various proteins in ways that makes the blood clotting less likely.

Risks of moderate alcohol consumption.  Moderate alcohol also carries with it some risks.  In women, even moderate drinking is associated with modest increase in the risk of developing breast cancer.  However, research suggest that when taking at least 600mg  of folic acid daily will counteract this increased risk.  Even moderate alcohol consumption by a pregnant woman can damage developing fetus.  Alcohol consumption can also alter sleep patterns and interact with many medications.  However, by far the greatest risk of moderate drinking is that for some people it will lead to alcohol dependency, alcohol abuse and heavy alcohol assumption (being drinking.).

Alcohol consumption is seen as drinking beer, wine, or distilled spirits such as gin, whiskey, vodka, that contains ethyl or ethanol alcohol.

It has been used for several centuries among other things as beverage.  And it is legally used across people, cultures and religion in most countries.  However, the word intoxicant indicate alcohol’s true nature – a toxic substance.  This intoxicating substance or beverage, when abused or taken in excess put the individuals at greater risk of exhibiting serious alcohol – related problems e.g vandalism, fights, injuries, drunk driving, trouble with police and subsequently negative health, social, economic or legal consequence (Wechsler, 2000).  Alcohol impairs the functioning of a variety of domains, including memory, judgement and behavior (Nelso et al, 1998; Sayette, 1999).  It diminishes eye movements (Blekher et al, 2002 Holdstock & Dewit, 1999; Moser, Heide & Komp, 1998) and motor performance (Fogarty & Vogel – Sproptt, 2002).

robberies and sex related crimes (Shupe, 1954: Waller 1969: Wolgang and Strohn, 1956).

Alcohol adversely affects the brain, the live, kidneys, the heart, the blood vessels, the living of the stomach, and various hormonal and regulatory systems.  Its effect on the brain occur in two distinct phases.  First symptoms of ethanol intoxication on the brain are quite pleasurable for most people.  You feel released and happy and with another drink or two you become boisterously enthusiastic, the life of the party.  This phase constitute the short term effect of ethanol.  With increased alcohol consumption, your vision blur your reaction times slow, your perception become unreliable and you become unsteady and uncoordinated.  You start to lose your inhibitions, which can lead to another consequence of drilling poor judgments.  At higher concentrations in the blood, it induces many of the symptoms of depression such as confusion, legarthy, and even death can  result.  However, no one is exactly sure how ethanol causes it’s various effects, but once absorbed from the stomach into the bloodstream.  It can freely cross out of the blood and into nerve cells of the brain, hence, its effects.  This phase constitute the long – term effect of ethanol.

Although laboratory studies show that the intensity of impairment is generally dependent on the blood alcoholic concentration (BAC), some review of literature suggest that gender may also be a factor; specifically, women may be more impaired by alcohol than men (mumenthaler et al; 1999; Nolen Hoeksema; 2004; Witt; 2007).  For example; one study reported that alcohol increased the detection thresholds for visual stimuli to a greater degree in women compared with men (e.g Avant, 1990).  Studies of alcohol effects on short – and – long term memory also report that women display greater alcohol – induced impairments of immediate and delayed recall compared with their male counterparts (Jones and Jones, 1976, 1977; Niaura et al; 1987; compared with men, women have also shown greater sensivity to alcohol induced impairment in test of dividual attention (Mills and Bisgrove 1983).  Studies also have reported that compared with men, women display greater alcohol – induced impairments on manual dexterity tests (e.g Price et al … 1968), Smooth pursuit tracking task (Daugherty et al: 1998) and in measure of gross motor control; such as standing steadiness and gait (e.g wang et al:2003).

Moreover, this gender difference might be most evident at alcohol does that are sufficient to produce reliable impairments in most behavior.

Manual Dexterity

        This simply means skillful performance or ability without difficulty.  That is, someone’s ability to perform a difficult action with the hands & finger skillful and quickly so that it looks easy.  The fine motor skill in the coordination of small muscle movements which occur in the body parts such as the fingers, usually in coordination with the eyes, (dexterity) but when applied to the theory of human aptitude, it is termed manual dexterity.  The high level of manual dexterity that human beings exhibit can be attributed to the manner in which manual tasks are controlled by the nervous system.  Manual task such as writing knitting, sewing and other activities that involves the use of hand and fingers rely on manual dexterity.

In young children manual dexterity is developed normally routine activities that also repairs hand – age coordination.  Some children’s manual dexterity develops faster and stronger than other do.  A child with weak fine motor skill may find it struggle some when learning to form letters and beginning to write because there are may reasons why fine motor skill and manual dexterity may be affected, and weakness in these areas may cause problems for children in school, pediatric occupational therapist often work with a variety of children to improve manual dexterity and fine motor skills.

In 2008, research strongly stress on alcohol effect upon manual dexterity task.  The work doesn’t permit any obstruction, for both the learner and learned ones.  It needs concentration and relaxation of brain to avoid faulty thinking.  This present study will find out if these findings are true, that is, if alcohol has any effect on manual dexterity and if there are gender differences on manual dexterity.

Statement of Problem

Alcohol intake understating a manual dexterity work has an effect upon performance.

In our society, alcohol intake is seen as a normal behavior with little or no effort to discover the influence or impact such alcohol drinking behavior may have on our every day activities.  In most cases, people maintain their stand that they drink alcohol to keep up their normal performance in day to day activities in which the claim to show a lot of expertise in manner and speed.  These their defense mechanism are always projected when the individual expects a decrease in negative self evaluation following failure.

However, continuing alcohol consumption have left many people with the option of addictive behavior coupled with the disastrous effect of the socio – psychological factors associated with the high consumption of alcohol which then would become the immediate concern of our entire society.  Just like; Shupe, 1954, Waller; 1969; Wolgan & Strolun, 1956): some example such as being involve in the majority of accidents due to the inability to coordinate well in task involving manual dexterity, assaults, murders, robberies, sex related crime and health problems.

Objective/Purpose of the Study

Considerable laboratory research indicates that moderate does of alcohol impair a broad range of skilled activities related manual dexterity performance or tasks in young people or adults.  Although laboratory studies show that intensity of impairment is generally dependent on the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) some review of this literature suggest that women might be more sensitive to the impairing effects of alcohol than men.

The present study tested this hypothesis to;

  • To determine whether alcohol will significantly influence performance of a manual dexterity task?
  • To determine whether gender will significantly influence performance of a manual dexterity task?

Research Questions

  • Will alcohol significantly influence performance of a manual dexterity task?
  • Will gender significantly influence performance of manual dexterity task?

Briefing on Methods

        A sings – blind pragmatic randomized controlled trial is used to avoid expectancy effect.  The sample was selected from federal polytechnic student population Oko and were identified as low high alcohol drinkers using Paddington alcohol test.  Non – alcoholic mouth wash was given to them to gargle for five (5) seconds in order to decrease.  Taste acuity, and then administer treatment.  The participant were randomized to three (3) level of drinking pattern; two experimental conditions (A = low (i.e) 60ml, and ‘B’ = high i.e) 120 ml, and each was mixed with 10ml tomato juice) and a control group (60ml non – mixed tomato juice).  The reason behind this mixture in the experimental group is to further decrease the olfactory visual and taste a cuities.

Measurement of Manual Dexterity Task

The participants were tested on speed accuracy, co-ordination and efficiency.  In this very test, they were given one minute to type sixty words.

Significance of Study

As important manual dexterity is to promotion of service efficacy in today’s competitive work organizations.  Alcohol use should be studied to ascertain whether it’s or enhance the pretends of increasing efficiency.  This study could therefore provide the general public with the knowledge on the influence or impact alcohol can inflict on our normal functioning’s.

Operational Definition of Terms

Alcohol Drinking:- According to Cranford, James A,. McCabe, Sean.  Esteban: Boyd, Carol (2006), is the consumption of 5 or more drinks in a row for men (4 or more drinks for women) on at least one occasion during the past two weeks.

Ober (1968) defined alcohol drinking as representing what he termed a “target behavuour” which may viewed as a defncincy in self control.  He went on to view drinking as a symptom of underlying conflict which would be more related to extroversion than introversion.  Although this definition have strength but is defect in the sense that it si psycho – analytically oriented and therefore does not encompass all the alcohol drinking etiologies.

Form the research’s vies, alcohol drinking is a behavior that is borne out of the seem inability to attain or accomplish the societal expectances (which is very subjective) and also to confront the environmental daily stresses and strains.

Manual Dexterity:- This on the other hand is a concept that is applied for characteristically appraised routine or serial perception and movements in terms of force, accuracy speed and endurance.  Co-ordinate activities usually involving the use of fingers, hands and the entire forelimbs are also defined by this term.  In certain dexterity tasks perceptual discrimination is probably a minor element and the score is largely determined by muscle and nerve functions.  In others, the perceptual element may be more important than motor coordination.




60 subjects with a mean age of 21 years and approximately 60 kilogram body weight who were selected from federal polytechnic Oko {fpo}, Anambra state. Oko subject populations were used for this study.

This sample comprises of equal numbers of both males and females. {30s in each group} were drawn randomly through casting of lots for those who responded to the experimenter’s earlier announcement in various departments.

The casting of lots was to make sure that the subjects were randomly selected, also to select only the number required for the experiment.


  1. Alcohol – Chevalier Napoleons French brandy, made by Grande champing of Charente coy, France.
  2. Tomato juice – juicy extracts from pure tomato, made by vegan vegetable and food processing coy Ltd. Nigeria.
  3. Mouthwash – Oraldene mouthwash, made by William warmer and coy ltd. Eastleigh. Hampshire England.
  4. Measuring cylinder- A scientific equipment, calibrated in milliliters for measuring the volume of liquid.
  5. Pegboard – A Chinese wooden instrument used for measuring manual dexterity.
  6. A stopwatch – made by Aristo coy ltd New York.
  7. A weighing scale – for measuring body weight made by Mary quay coy ltd. New York.
  8. Recording sheets and a pencil for recording the test scores.


A singe blind method was used in that the participant did not know whether or not they were given alcohol or placebo.

This method was applied in order to avoid expectancy effects. The experiment was conducted in the science laboratory technology, school of applied science & technology, chemistry unit Oko and it lasted for five days. The subjects complies with the experiment’s pre- arrangement with them, that only one – fifth of the total sample (6 males and 6 females ) appears each later subdivided into four subgroup of three on arrival, after allowing them five (5) minutes to adapt themselves to the environmental conditions, to enable the fit into the three (3) levels of drinking pattern (i.e. those who would be administered, placebo, low and high volume of alcohol). At the expiration of this period, the experimenter acquainted each subject with the appropriate rules of the test and what they were required to do. They were instructed as follows.

“You have thirty (30) seconds to transfer the pages from exactly where they are now to the holes on the opposite side of the pegs (from the left – handed and from the right side to the left side for the left handed).”

After this, the subjects were sent into the laboratory cubicle where the test took place, in sub-groups of three randomly.

The experimenter had assured that they did not drink or take any no-prescription drugs for 24 hours or eat for four (4) hours prior to the experiment. He also confirmed this belief from the subjects on self report, the subject’s body weights were taken with a body weight measuring scale.

Non- alcoholic mouthwash was given to them to gangly for five (5) seconds in order to decrease taste acuity, then two different levels of alcohol (60 ml for low drinkers and 120ml for high drinkers), mixed with 10ml tomato juice were immediately administered, to two (2) out of the three (3) subjects in sub group. These subjects given alcohol were the treatment group. And 60mlpure non-mixed tomato juice were administered to the remaining subject, the control or placebo group. The process of administering alcohol did always alternate for the successive groups. The reason behind the mixture for the treatment group was to further decrease the olfactory, visual and taste acuities. The levels of alcoholic beverage administration were in accordance with a similar study done by Nelson et al (1986) based on milliliters of alcohol to a kilogram body weight (1.0ml/kg body weight).

Each subject was told that he/she had five (5) seconds to finish the drink, after the experimental group had a kiss of the drink. They were later led back to the seating room and 45 minutes of absorption delay was allowed. This is because maximum effect of alcohol on memory occurs during this period (Jones, 1973).

During this absorption period, the subjects were engaged in other filler activities (like reading magazine and playing some other games) while the other subjects were sent to the cubicle and the procedure repeated with them.

As this was done, close watch was mounted on the stop watch to make sure that no extra time was allowed.

The administration of drinks to the successive groups immediately after the experimenter had led the treated sub-groups out made it possible to test the whole participants at exactly almost the same time each day (between 10:40am and 12:40am).

Both of these variables (drinking and testing the participants at almost the same time) could have modulated the effects of alcohol (Jones and Vega 1972).

Measurement of Manual Dexterity Task

The researcher test to know the following: speed, accuracy, coordination and efficiency from the participants (that is, if there is reaction effects).

In these test, they were given one minute to type sixty words. For example;

Alcohol is a drug that enhances human perception. It should not be consume while on duty. Children of under age should be encouraged not to take alcohol at all because it causes mental retardation. Also people who engage in manual activities should avoid heavy consumption of alcohol. This is because it decreases speed, accuracy, co-ordination and efficiency when taken in excess”. After the administration, the result showed insignificant effect on the participants because the researcher’s drafted 25% each on speed, accuracy, coordination and efficiency making 100% as the whole scores sun together. But both male and female were unable to score pass mark.

Their scores are as follows; female score 10% on speed, 7% on accuracy, 12%on coordination and 8% on efficiency making 37% all together.

While the male scored 12% on speed, 6% on accuracy, 8% on coordination and 13% on efficiency making 39% all together.

The total score for the male and female out of 200 marks, which only represents 38% of the total marks.

76    x   100

20          1            = 38%


A 2 x 2 factorial design ANOVA was used for the statistical analysis (i.e. two ways ANOVA)

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