Exercise and Sport Science Reviews Vol. 39, No. 2, pp. 85Y92, 2011
COLLET, C., A. GUILLOT, F. LEBON, T. MACINTYRE, and A. MORAN.
This review examines the measurement of motor imagery (MI) processes. First, self-report measures of MI are evaluated. Next, mental chronometry measures are considered. Then, we explain how physiological indices of the autonomic nervous system can measure MI. Finally, we show how these indices may be combined to produce a measure of MI quality called the Motor Imagery Index. Key Words: motor imagery, mental imagery, psychometric measures, mental chronometry, autonomic nervous system, electrodermal and cardiac activities.
Aidan Patrick Moran, Ph.D.;Aymeric Guillot, PhD;Tadhg MacIntyre, PhD;Christian Collet, PhD
One of the most remarkable capacities of the mind is its ability to simulate sensations, actions and cognitive neuroscientists and sport psychologists is motor imagery or the mental rehearsal of actions without engaging in the actual physical movements involved. Research on motor imagery is important in psychology because it provides an empirical window on movement planning, rectifies a relative neglect of non-visual types of mental imagery and has practical implications for skill learning and skilled performance in special populations (e.g., athletes, surgeons). Unfortunately, contemporary research on motor imagery is hampered by a variety of semantic, conceptual and methodological issues that prevent cross-fertilization of ideas between cognitive neuroscience and sport psychology. In this paper, we review these issues, suggest how they can be resolved and sketch some potentially fruitful new directions for inter-disciplinary research in motor imagery.
Keywords: Mental imagery, motor imagery, cognitive neuroscience, sport psychology
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.
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.