neck laterality study

Thank you for your interest in the cervical laterality study

The study team is Sarah Wallwork - physiotherapy honours student at the University of South Australia, Ian Fulton (MAppSc) from the School of Health Sciences at the University of South Australia, David Butler (M.Phty) from the Neuro Orthopaedic Institute in Adelaide, Halton Stewart - software research and development, and Lorimer Moseley (PhD) from the Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute and UNSW Faculty of Medicine in Sydney. We have come together to conduct a research project about neck laterality.

Contact: Ian Fulton -

Title of the study

'Accuracy and response time for cervical laterality appreciation.'

In plain English: What is the accuracy and response time for someone to judge whether a pictured model has their head turned to the left or the right?

Aim of the study

To determine accuracy and response time in a normal healthy population, for making left/right neck rotation judgements.

What we want you to do

This study is carried out online and you will be guided through a five step process. Initially you will be required to consent to participating in the study as well as consenting to the terms and conditions of the website. Next, we will ask you to fill out a questionnaire about yourself; including questions about your health and physical activity. Finally, you will be asked to respond to a series of photographs by indicating whether the person in the photograph has turned their head to the left or the right.

There are no known risks associated with participation in this research study. Participation in the study is voluntary. Participants also need to be aware that information collected from this study may be used in future studies. Participants will be able to withdraw from the study at any stage by just clicking the 'exit programme' link at the bottom of any of the web pages.

Some background information

There are a set of complex brain processes that are involved when a person is judging whether a picture of someone else's hand is a left or a right hand. The same applies when judging whether a pictured foot belongs to the left or the right, or if a person has their trunk rotated to the left or right.

There is a growing body of literature that links pain to a reduced ability to make left/right judgements of body parts. It is believed that a distorted representation of the body within the brain is responsible for this pain. So far, this relationship has been observed in people with arm pain, leg pain or back pain. To date, no one has investigated left/right judgements of neck rotation. This study aims to address this.

Left/right judgement have recently been introduced into a treatment program to help reduce pain in people suffering specific pain conditions. It is suggested that this method works by a process of reorganising the distorted image of the body within the brain.

There are two aims of this study:

  1. to establish baseline data for left/right judgements of neck rotation,
  2. to identify relationships between accuracy and response time of left/right rotation judgements and demographic and clinical variables.

Participant information

Be assured that your involvement in the study will be confidential and that you will remain anonymous. All data will be coded to a number only. Information collected as a part of the study will be retained for at least five years at the University of South Australia and at the Neuro Orthopaedic Institute in Adelaide, South Australia.

There are no known risks or side effects to subjects who participate in this study.

The researcher will take every care to remove responses from any identifying material as early as possible. Likewise individuals' responses will be kept confidential by the researcher and not be identified in the reporting of the research. However, the researcher cannot guarantee the confidentiality or anonymity of material transferred by email or the internet.

For any ethical concerns about the project or questions about the rights of participants please contact the Executive Officer of the UniSA ethics committee:

Mrs Sonia Kravinskis, Executive Officer Division of Health Sciences
Playford Building, Level 6, Room 29C
Division Office City East Campus SA 5000
Tel: +61 8 8302 2619

If you have any further questions about the study, please contact Ian Fulton at