Kusho, which refers to a behavior in which one moves the index finger as a substitute for a pen in the air or on a surface, mostly used when trying to recall the shape of a written character or the spelling of a word, has been known to facilitate cognitive task performance among kanji writing-system users. This study investigates whether the facilitative effect of kusho, the existence of which has been exclusively confirmed in younger adults, is present in old age. Moreover, to further understand the interaction between finger movement and cognitive processing, we analyzed the correlation between the kusho effect and factors such as age, mini-mental state examination (MMSE) score, and number of years of education. The kusho effect was assessed by a task where participants mentally assembled a set of kanji subparts to form an actual character. The results showed a significant facilitative effect of kusho and a strong negative correlation between kusho effect and education. This study confirms the benefits of finger movement for solving cognitive tasks involving visual processing of written language among older adults and suggests the kusho effect may be mediated by education.
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