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Open Access Research

Coupling movement with imagery as a new perspective for motor imagery practice

Aymeric Guillot12*, Kevin Moschberger1 and Christian Collet1

Author Affiliations

1 Centre de Recherche et d’Innovation sur le Sport, EA 647, Université de Lyon, Université Claude Bernard, Lyon 1, Performance Motrice, Mentale et du Matériel (P3M), 27–29 Boulevard du 11 Novembre 1918, Villeurbanne, Cedex, 69622, France

2 Institut Universitaire de France, 103 Boulevard Saint-Michel, Paris, 75005, France

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Behavioral and Brain Functions 2013, 9:8  doi:10.1186/1744-9081-9-8

Published: 20 February 2013

Abstract

Background

Recent data support the beneficial role of gesturing during mental practice. The present study examined whether coupling motor imagery (MI) with some movement sequences (dynamic imagery condition) impacted motor performance to a greater extent than performing MI while remaining motionless.

Methods

A group of active high jumpers imagined their jump both with and without associated arm movement. Three outcome variables were measured: the number of successful attempts, the temporal congruence between MI and actual jump performance, and the technical quality of the jump.

Results

Data revealed that dynamic imagery enhanced both MI quality and temporal congruence between MI and motor performance, and further improved the technical efficacy of the jump. Athletes also reported more vivid representation while coupling MI with actual movement.

Conclusions

These data support the hypothesis that performing dynamic imagery might contribute to enhance MI quality and efficacy, and sketch potentially fruitful new directions for MI practice.

Keywords:
Movement imagery; Dynamic imagery; Motor cognition; Motor performance; Mental imagery