SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.41 issue1The developmental status of street children in Potchefstroom, South AfricaThe effect of psycho-motor play on motor and body perception competence for young children with developmental delays author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand



Related links

  • On index processCited by Google
  • On index processSimilars in Google


South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

On-line version ISSN 2310-3833
Print version ISSN 0038-2337

S. Afr. j. occup. ther. vol.41 n.1 Pretoria  2011




Assessing tactile perception in limited visibility could be child's-play: Developing the Tupperware Neuropsychological Task



Charles H van Wijk

MA (clin psych). Private practice, Simon's Town, and the Institute for Maritime Medicine, Simon's Town





In task-environments with limited visibility (e.g. rescue workers in smoke), individuals rely on tactile perception as a primary mode of data acquisition. They need to translate tactile information into three-dimensional images, to solve problems mentally, before translating them into motor actions.
To assess this ability in an inexpensive, standardised way, the Tupperware Neuropsychological Task (TNT) was developed. It is a timed task using the Tupperware Shape O Toy. Participants completed the TNT blindfolded, and also completed standardised measures of spatial visualisation, tactile form perception and memory, and fine motor coordination.
Healthy adults (N=170) aged 19 to 30 completed the tasks on all tests on an individual basis. This paper reports normative data for the TNT, including mean completion time and standard deviations. It also reports small but significant correlations with other measures of tactile form perception, mental rotations, motor manipulation and tactile recall. This suggests that the TNT taps all these constructs in one task, which would make it an economical measure of the functions required to work effectively in low visibility environments.

Key words: tactile form perception; mental rotation; tactile memory



“Full text available only in PDF format”




1. Aitchison J, Harley A. South African illiteracy statistics and the case of the magically growing number of literacy and ABET learners. Centre for Adult Education. University of KwaZulu-Nata, 2004.         [ Links ]

2. Paterson H, Uys JS. Critical Issues in Psychological Test Use in the South African Workplace. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology, 2005; 31(3): 12-22.         [ Links ]

3. Punakallio A. Balance abilities of workers in physically demanding jobs: with special reference to firefighters of different ages. Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, 2005; 4, Suppl 8.         [ Links ]

4. Williamson AM. The development of a neurobehavioral test battery for use in hazard evaluations in occupational settings. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 1990; 12(5): 509-514.         [ Links ]

5. Paloski WH, Oman CM, Bloomberg JJ, Reschke MF Wood SJ, Harm DL, Peters BT, Mulavara AP, Locke JP Stone LS. Risk of sensory-motor performance failures affecting vehicle control during space missions: a review of the evidence. Journal of Gravitational Physiology, 2008; 15(2): 1-29.         [ Links ]

6. Barley SR. Technicians in the workplace: ethnographic evidence for bringing work into organization studies. Administrative Science Quarterly, 1996; 41: 404-441.         [ Links ]

7. Coetzee N, Vosloo RN. Manual for the Differential Aptitude Test Form K. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council, 2000.         [ Links ]

8. Lezak MD, Howieson DB, Loring DW. Neuropsychological Assessment, 4th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.         [ Links ]

9. Lafayette Instrument Company. Grooved Pegboard: Owner's Manual. Lafayette, IN.: Lafayette Instrument Company, 1989.         [ Links ]

10. Cattell RB, Scheier IH, Madge EM. Manual to the IPAT Anxiety Scale. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council, 1993.         [ Links ]

11. Du Toit LBH. Student norms, averages, standard deviations and reliability coefficients for the IPAT Anxiety Scale. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council, 1986.         [ Links ]

12. Van Wijk CH. The resilience of naval specialists: their sense of coherence and its relationship with measures of personality. South African Journal of Psychology, 1998; 38(4): 737-751.         [ Links ]

13. Nyenhuis DL, Yamamoto C, Luchetta T, Terrien A, Parmentier A. Adult and Geriatric Normative Data and Validation of the Profile of Mood States. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 1999; 55(1): 79-86.         [ Links ]

14. Prigatano GP Parson OA. Relationship of age and education to Halstead Test performance in different patient populations. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1976; 44: 527-533.         [ Links ]

15. Butters N, Barton M. Effect of parietal lobe damage on the performance of reversible operations in space. Neuropsychologia, 1970, 8: 205-214.         [ Links ]

16. Tomasino B, Rumiati RI. Effects of Strategies on Mental Rotation and Hemispheric Lateralization: Neuropsychological Evidence. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 2004; 16(5): 878-888.         [ Links ]



Charles H van Wijk

Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License