Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Dr. David L. Nelson

Second Advisor

Dr. Doris A. Smith

Third Advisor

Dr. Cindee Peterson

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The idea that occupations which offer added levels of purpose elicit a high quality of performance is widely accepted within occupational therapy. In this experiment involving fine motor performance, fifty-three learning disabled children were randomly assigned to two groups. It was hypothesized that children cutting out a circle, presented as a wheel which would complete a paper truck, would cut more accurately than those who cut out the same circle without the suggestion of it being used as a wheel. Accuracy was assessed by measuring the area of the children's cutting errors. The experimental design included the use of a cutting sample as a possible covariate; however, this variable had no significant impact on the results. The mean scores of the two groups tended in the opposite direction of the hypothesis, with no statistically significant difference. The reasons for the subjects' unexpected performance were explored.