Mental imagery has been the subject of over a Century of testing on individual differences culminating with the development of the mental rotations paradigm (Shepard & Metzler, 1970). Despite this fact, surprisingly few studies have investigated people’s knowledge and beliefs about their own imagery experience, or meta-imagery (Moran, 2004). One study that did focus on meta-imagery used a survey to measure participants knowledge of imagery effects (e.g., mental rotation). Since then few researchers have pursued this line of enquiry. Recent qualitative research however has sought to establish the role of meta-imagery processes among experts in skilled movement (e.g., elite sport performers). They notably underlined that assessing and controlling meta-imagery processes is crucial and vital for the efficient application of imagery within sport (See MacIntyre & Moran, 2009). The discussion focuses on the development of new measures to assess meta-imagery among experts.
As William James, one of the founding fathers of psychology famously declared, “Everyone knows what attention is” (1890). Or do we? Meta-attention, quite simply, relates to ones understanding or awareness of the processes of attention. Attention and meta-attention has seen a recent upsurge in empirical interest from psychology and cognitive neuroscience (Vickers, 2007). This paper will examine meta-attention in sport skills. Visual attentional control will be examined in light of recent and ongoing research into a phenomenon known as Quiet Eye (Campbell & Moran, 2005; 2006). Quiet eye is a long steady visual fixation on a target during the pre shot routine immediately prior to executing a sports skill and has been associated with increased cognitive processing and superior subsequent performance (Vickers, 2009). Quiet eye findings have the potential to increase our understanding of visual attention and also to teach strategies to augment visual attention in sport and learning environments.
Metacognition has been described as “having knowledge or awareness of one’s own cognitive processes” (Statt, 1998). This ability underpins both monitoring and control mechanisms in human thinking (Nelson & Nahren, 1994). Although extensively utilised within the realm of education and learning (c.f. Hacker, Dunlowsky & Graesser, 1998), the concept of metacognition is also pertinent to Psychological Skills Training in the realm of sport. Sport Psychologists primarily help athletes make improvements in their sport performance and this process involves both self reflection and self regulation strategies. As part of the symposium on Metacognition in Sport, the presenter will aim to show how PST is essentially a metacognitive endeavour. A framework based upon the work of John Flavell, for understanding and applying the concept, will also be applied to PST. Finally, problems with engagement in PST will be examined from a metacognitive perspective.
A symposium on metacognition in sport will form part of the ICOT series to be held in QUB, Belfast, Ireland, in June 2011. The symposium entitled "METACOGNITION IN SPORT: 3, 2, 1...WHAT DO WE KNOW?"brings together research on metacognition and action, focusing on meta-attention, meta-imagery and psychological skills training. The series of presentations represent a collaboration from several institutions across the island of Ireland and in the UK. The researchers include Professor Aidan Moran (UCD), Professor Craig Mahoney (HEA), Dr. David Foster (Grantham College), P.J. Smyth and Mark Campbell (University of Limerick), Derek Dorris (University College Cork) and Tadhg MacIntyre and Ciaran Kelly (University of Ulster). The abstract for the symposium follows: While the topic of metacognition has largely been neglected by researchers in sport and action, recent innovations have led to the genesis of this field of research (Augustyn & Rosenbaum, 2005). In paper 1, the reasons for the neglect of the topic of metacognition are examined. The emergence of the field of motorcognition (Jeannerod, 2006) and the establishment of the expertise paradigm (Ericsson et al., 1993) are seen as key factors in researchers interest in metacognitive processes. Paper 2, focuses on meta-attention, quite simply, relates to ones understanding or awareness of the processes of attention. Recent research on the quiet eye phenomenon (Vickers, 2007), motor planning and visual search in golf (Campbell, 2006) are examined. Next Paper 3 looks at meta-imagery and how despite over a Century of imagery tests only recently have attempts to assess meta-imagery been reported. The potential development of new instruments to measure meta-imagery are discussed. Finally, paper 4 explains how psychological skills training (P.S.T.) is essentially a metacognitive endeavour. A framework for the development of PST is outline andproblems with engagement in PST will be examined from a metacognitive perspective.
This new monograph, edited by Christian Collet and Aymeric Guillot, is a monumental work summarising the latest issues on motor imagery with implications for cognitive neuroscience, sport psychology and the rehabilitation sciences. Mental imagery is the ability to form perceptual-like representations of objects or events on the basis of information stored in memory. Motor imagery is often used when the human body is involved, where subjects imagine the body moving or manipulating objects.The use of mental practice,
including motor imagery for the rehabilitation of patients with cerebral motor impairments, is one of the most active areas in the field of motor imagery research. Such data provide evidence for imagery as a method in stroke rehabilitation, leading to reliable reconstruction of neural networks and thus to functional recovery. In recent years, our understanding of imagery has advanced greatly thanks to functional imaging studies using, for example, PET and fMRI. There is now ample evidence that a common neural substrate (albeit not identical) underlies mental imagery and visual perception, on the one hand, and motor performance and motor imagery, on the other.
This book, the first of its kind, examines three main aspects of mental imagery. In the first part, the chapters address the neural basis of mental and motor imagery, the relationships between mental imagery and perception, and between motor imagery and physical execution. In the second part, the chapters focus on the evaluation of mental/motor imagery accuracy, including both central and peripheral nervous system recordings. The final chapters address the effects of mental practice on motor recovery after stroke.
Providing a state of the art review along with in-depth summaries, meta-analyses, and research syntheses, this book will be important for those in the fields of cognitive neuroscience, physiology, and rehabilitation. It features contributions from Stephen Kosslyn, Paul Holmes, Aidan Moran & Tadhg MacIntyre.
The old adage that we can only learn how to do something by trying it ourselves may have to be revised in the light of recent discoveries in neuroscience. It turns out that humans, primates, some birds, and possibly other higher animals have mirror neurons that fire in the same pattern whether performing or just observing a task. This emerging field of mirror neurons in social cognition was discussed at a recent workshop organized by the European Science Foundation (ESF), which laid the ground for the first common research network dedicated to this fast emerging field, within the EU's 7th Research Framework Programme running until 2013. see www.esf.org
The emerging field of "motor cognition" is concerned with the mental processes by which the motor system plans and produces skilled actions. A key topic in this field is "motor imagery" or peopleâ€™s ability to simulate or imagine the movements of their bodies in space. Although this ability is known to distinguish expert from novice performance in motor domains such as sport, little research has been conducted on the cognitive processes underlying it because of the absence of suitable measures. However, with the development of the "mental travel" paradigm, it is now possible to investigate motor imagery by comparing the relationship between the duration of real and imagined skill execution.
This paper describes an emerging field of study, termed motor cognition, is concerned with understanding the representation of action and the associated processes. It has developed from a series of initial investigations that culminated in a theory by Jeannerod (1994). BACKGROUND: The study of mental imagery has been a controversial field since the ideomotor theory of William James (1890). This construct of mental imagery has received a great deal of attention from both experimental (e.g., cognitive neuroscience) and qualitative methodologies (e.g., sport psychology). KEY POINTS: The new paradigm of Jeannerod (1994; 2006) postulates that imagery is functionally equivalent to action. In other words, imagery is said to occur along a continuum where intentional movement is at one end and representation is at the oppositte pole. This can explain phenomenon such as movement during imagery (see Holmes & Collins, 2001). Recently, Rosenbaum (2005) has articulated as that â€œmotor control has had the status of Cinderella in psychological researchâ€ (p. 308). CONCLUSIONS: One implication of the motor cognition paradigm is that it returns the study of action to psychology. Other implictations that are examined in this discussion are the role of meta-imagery and meta-attention in action. Finally, the role of action in conscious awareness is explored from the motor cognition perspective.
Imagery & observation researchers are gathering in Lincoln, UK for a research meeting on March 11th, 2009. Our group are presenting: Turning concepts over in your mind: A conceptual analysis of imagery, functional equivalence, and kinaesthetic imagery. T. MacIntyre (Ulster) & A.P. Moran (University College Dublin). See www.rio-uk.info for more info.
A joint symposium on imagery brings together French and Irish researchers. Professor Christian Collet and Dr. Aymeric Guillot from the STAPS lab will present findings and a theoretical framework. Professor Aidan Moran and Dr. Tadhg MacIntyre will discuss evidence from elite athletes that calls into question some of the conventional wisdom in applied sports psychology. Currently these researchers are engaged in two other collaborative projects.