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School of Health Sciences

Examining the efficacy of Imagery and Observation Interventions on Motor Performance Using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Researchers: Ms Stephanie Romano-Smith (PhD), Dr Caroline Wakefield and Dr Greg Wood. 

TMSMotor imagery (MI) and action observation (AO) are techniques, which have been shown to be effective in the enhancement motor skill learning. Both of these techniques have been used independently, and often in combination with physical practice. More recently, research has begun to employ combined AO and MI to investigate the potential effects on motor skill learning. However, varying combinations of these two skill learning techniques is a relatively under-researched area. This study examined a combined AO and MI approach on a target based sport task.

Participants (n=50) were randomly allocated to one of five training groups: video action observation (AO), PETTLEP-based motor imagery (MI), simultaneous imagery and observation, (SIO), alternative imagery and observation (AIO) and a control group. Pre and post-test performance was measured using a dart throwing target task. Imagery instructions and supplementary videos were supplied where necessary and interventions were conducted three times per week for six weeks. A one-way ANOVA revealed no significant differences in pre test scores (p>.05). A repeated measures ANOVA revealed a significant difference in post-test scores [F(4,45)=6.04, p<.05], with MI, SIO, and AIO groups showing an improvement from pre-test to post-test. AO and control groups did not improve significantly from pre-test to post test. Furthermore, SIO group improved to a significantly greater degree than the MI and AIO groups. These findings have important implications for the design of motor learning strategies, as encouraging performers to simultaneously conduct imagery and observation may be the optimal method for motor stimulation.


Contact Information

For more information on this project, please contact Stephanie at the following:


T: 0151 291 3815