Muscular Responses During Mental Imagery as a Function of Motor Skill Level

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 The Pennsylvania State University
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The purpose of the present investigation was to determine if the magnitude of muscular activity concomitant with mental imagery is a function of motor skill level. Male undergraduates (N=38) between 18 and 24 years of age were assigned to either a high skilled (n=23) or low skilled (n = 15) group of jugglers. All subjects completed the Movement Imagery Questionnaire (MIQ) (Hall & Pongrac, 1983) and imagined themselves juggling for eight 15-second trials while the amplitude of muscular activity was measured by surface electromyography. There was a significant increase in muscular activity during mental imagery across all subjects (p<.001), but the difference between the high and low skilled groups was not significant. This lack of difference may suggest that the differential effects of imagery based upon skill level are not due to the neuromuscular activation during imagery.

Douglas Jowdy, who was at Penn State at the time of this study, is pursuing a doctorate in psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23284. Request reprints from Dorothy Harris, Exercise/Sport Science Dept., White Bldg., The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802.

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