Computerized measures of finger tapping: Reliability, malingering and traumatic brain injury

Kerry A. Hubel, E. William Yund, Timothy J. Herron, David L Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


We analyzed computerized finger tapping metrics in four experiments. Experiment 1 showed tapping-rate differences associated with hand dominance, digits, sex, and fatigue that replicated those seen in a previous, large-scale community sample. Experiment 2 revealed test-retest correlations (r =.91) that exceeded those reported in previous tapping studies. Experiment 3 investigated subjects simulating symptoms of traumatic brain injury (TBI); 62% of malingering subjects produced abnormally slow tapping rates. A tapping-rate malingering index, based on rate-independent tapping patterns, provided confirmatory evidence of malingering in 48% of the subjects with abnormal tapping rates. Experiment 4 compared tapping in 24 patients with mild TBI (mTBI) and a matched control group; mTBI patients showed slowed tapping without evidence of malingering. Computerized finger tapping measures are reliable measures of motor speed, useful in detecting subjects performing with suboptimal effort, and are sensitive to motor abnormalities following mTBI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)745-758
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 19 2013


  • Effort
  • Finger oscillation
  • Index finger
  • Motor speed
  • Symptom validity
  • Tap failure
  • Tapping rate
  • Test-retest
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Psychology


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