Why is it so difficult to drum your fingers backwards?

Going from pinky to index is easy and fast. Doing it the other way requires thought and effort. Why is that?

Try starting with your thumb and not your index finger. You can develop a hypothesis from here.

When I read your post title I assumed that by “backwards” you meant pinky to index, as index to pinky is a little easier for me…though I have no problem with either (I’ve played fingerstyle guitar for years, though, which may be a factor in terms of my finger independence/dexterity etc).

They’re both the same for me.

I don’t notice any difference between the two directions.

I learned to type at an early age, maybe that has something to do with it.

Both seem about the same to me…

Only a slight difference for me. Probably due to practice.

phjonen, I’m with you. Much harder going index to pinky. I have no idea why though.



Way easier and quicker for me from pinkie to index. But reading the answers, it’s probably some random individual variation, like ability to blink equally well with either eyelid, etc…

Index to pinky is a fair bit easier me for me than pinky to index. For what it’s worth I don’t play guitar, I do type, and i’m right-handed.

If I’m just drumming my fingers mindlessly, it’s pinky-first, but I can do either with almost no effort.

Struck me as an odd question. I have never drummed my fingers pinky-to-index. I play guitar and can drum my fingers including thumb in 5/4 time or even 5-against-4 but never tried going the other direction until I read this thread. I can do it but requires more concentration. I’m sure it’s just a matter of practice.

It’s a matter of practice, of course. It’s like Asians who can spin pens around their fingers. I learned how and it would drive my American friends nuts when they would couldn’t.

I can barely drum my fingers from index to pinky, and I can’t blink at all with my right eyelid without involving my left. I’ve been trying to work on both skills since I was a child, and twenty years later I’m just as incapable of both as I was when I was pretending to learn long division in the back of class as a kid.

The math, I’ve gotten far better at; the finger drumming and right-eyelid-blinking, not so much. Maybe it’s just not in the cards for some of us less dexterous folks.

I think it’s a matter of dexterity. Some people’s brains are just wired to do those things better than other people, possibly if you were athletic when you were young.

I have no problem doing that, typing fast, winking either eye, rubbing my stomach/patting my head, patting my stomach/rubbing my head, etc.

The ones that kill me though is wiggling my ears and raising my right eyebrow.

I think it’s just practice. I read the thread title and started doing it index to pinky. It was slower but in about 30 second of practicing it was already getting notably faster. I have no doubt that if I did it regularly there would quickly be no difference.

Is this something peculiar to Asians? Not that I can do it (I’ve never tried) but I can’t see why they’d be any better at it than anyone else.

I can drum my fingers in both directions, with my right hand. It’s a bit tougher to do it backwards on my left.

They’re better at it only because they practice it. I guess it’s a cultural quirk. I’ve had a few Korean friends who do this with incredible deft and casual absent-mindedness.

Both are the same for me except for one difference: my pinky finger is shorter than the rest of my fingers, so it doesn’t “drum” exactly the same as the other fingers. Even with that, it takes no extra effort or thought for me to drum my fingers one way or the other.