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Sarah E. Williams, Sam J. Cooley and Jennifer Cumming

This study aimed to test Lang’s bioinformational theory by comparing the effects of layered stimulus and response training (LSRT) with imagery practice on improvements in imagery ability and performance of a motor skill (golf putting) in 24 novices (age, M = 20.13 years; SD = 1.65; 12 female) low in imagery ability. Participants were randomly assigned to a LSRT (introducing stimulus and response propositions to an image in a layered approach), motor imagery (MI) practice, or visual imagery (VI) practice group. Following baseline measures of MI ability and golf putting performance, the LSRT and MI practice groups imaged successfully performing the golf putting task 5 times each day for 4 days whereas the VI practice group imaged the ball rolling into the hole. Only the LSRT group experienced an improvement in kinesthetic MI ability, MI ability of more complex skills, and actual golf putting performance. Results support bioinformational theory by demonstrating that LSRT can facilitate visual and kinesthetic MI ability and reiterate the importance of imagery ability to ensure MI is an effective prime for movement execution.

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Loes Janssen, Céline Crajé, Matthias Weigelt and Bert Steenbergen

We examined anticipatory motor planning and the interaction among both hands in a discrete bimanual task. To this end, participants had to grasp and manipulate two cylindrical objects simultaneously under varying conditions in which (a) the grip selection requirements, i.e., orientation of the to-be-grasped objects, differed between the two hands and (b) the type of grip for one hand was preinstructed, while the grip for the other hand was free choice. Results showed that participants, when grasping for two bars with a free grip choice, prioritized planning for comfortable end postures over symmetry of movement execution. Furthermore, when participants were free to choose a grip for their left hand, but were instructed on how to grasp an object with their right hand, we found no interaction between the grip selections of both hands, suggesting that motor planning proceeds independently for both hands.

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Ran Zheng, Ilana D. Naiman, Jessica Skultety, Steven R. Passmore, Jim Lyons and Cheryl M. Glazebrook

movements due to cognitive processing (i.e., time for movement organization) or motor processing (i.e., time for force generation). Movement Execution Unlike motor planning, there is a discrepancy in the literature with respect to whether or not movement execution is different in the ASD population

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Louisa D. Raisbeck, Jed A. Diekfuss, Dustin R. Grooms and Randy Schmitz

in the primary motor cortex, somatosensory cortex, and insular region of the left hemisphere. The authors surmised from these regions that are associated with sensory function, that an external focus promoted task-adequate brain activity for movement execution by shifting focus toward exteroceptive

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Michael J. Hiley and Maurice R. Yeadon

The upstart is a fundamental skill in gymnastics, requiring whole body coordination to transfer the gymnast from a swing beneath the bar to a support position above the bar. The aim of this study was to determine the solution space within which a gymnast could successfully perform an upstart. A previous study had shown that the underlying control strategy for the upstart could be accounted for by maximizing the likelihood of success while operating in a noisy environment.1 In the current study, data were collected on a senior gymnast and a computer simulation model of a gymnast and bar was used to determine the solution space for maximizing success while operating in a noisy environment. The effects of timing important actions, gymnast strength, and movement execution noise on the success of the upstart were then systematically determined. The solution space for the senior gymnast was relatively large. Decreasing strength and increasing movement execution noise reduced the size of the solution space. A weaker gymnast would have to use a different technique than that used by the senior gymnast to produce an acceptable success rate.

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M.J.M. Volman

The effect of amplitude incongruence (small circles–large circles) and form incongruence (circles–lines) on the performance of the affected and non-affected arm was examined in 12 children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy in bimanual rhythmic drawing tasks. Amplitude and form incongruence are assumed to be associated with aspects of movement execution and movement planning, respectively. The following questions were addressed: Does amplitude or form incongruence in bimanual coordination result in: (a) accommodation of the affected or non-affected arm, or both, (b) an increase of temporal variability of drawing movements of the affected or non-affected arm, and (c) a decrease of bimanual coordination stability? Form incongruence resulted in accommodation of both affected and non-affected arm in a similar way found in non-disabled participants. Despite this accommodation, the temporal variability of both affected and non-affected arm was increased, and coordination stability decreased, because the spatial trajectories of affected and non-affected arm were still rather dissimilar. Amplitude incongruence resulted in accommodation of either the affected arm (large circles required) or non-affected arm (small circles required), and in an increase or decrease of temporal variability of the affected arm, depending on the degree of spatial similarity of the trajectories of affected and non-affected arm. These findings suggest that in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy aspects of movement execution, but not aspects of movement planning are affected by the “hemiplegic” condition.

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Andrew M. Johnson, Philip A. Vernon, Quincy J. Almeida, Linda L. Grantier and Mandar S. Jog

The effect of a precue on improving movement initiation (i.e., reaction time; RT) is well understood, whereas its influence on movement execution (i.e., movement time; MT) has rarely been examined. The current study investigated the influence of a directional precue (i.e., left vs. right) on the RT and MT of simple and discrete bi-directional movements in a large sample of Parkinson's disease patients and healthy control participants. Both patients and controls were tested twice, with testing sessions separated by 2 hours. Patients were tested first following an overnight levodopa withdrawal and again after they had taken their medication. Both patients and controls demonstrated a significant RT improvement when information was provided in advance. MT in both healthy participants and medicated patients was, however, slower with the provision of advance information, while unmedicated patients showed no significant MT effects. These results suggest that while the basal ganglia may not be involved in motor program selection, they may dynamically modulate movement execution.

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Scott J. Pedersen and Paul R. Surburg

This study investigated the movement preparation (reaction time) and movement execution (movement time) of children with and without ADHD by manipulating the uncertainty of occurrence. Participants performed a seated lower extremity choice response time protocol, which contained either 10% catch trials or 30% catch trials along with 27 empirical stimuli to one of three target directions. Results indicated that children with ADHD were significantly slower at processing lower extremity movements than their peers for the condition with increased number of catch trials, but not the condition with fewer catch trials. These findings suggest that children with ADHD are more affected by the uncertainty of an empirical stimulus during the preparation phase of a movement response than their age-matched peers are.

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Aaron England, Timothy Brusseau, Ryan Burns, Dirk Koester, Maria Newton, Matthew Thiese and Benjamin Chase

In adult performers, research suggests that mental representations (MRs) mediate performance of skilled movement. During adolescence, cortical brain areas responsible for generating MRs develop rapidly along with limb size, which, together, may affect movement and movement representations. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between adolescent MRs and free-throw shooting expertise. Using structural dimensional analysis of MRs, skilled (n = 11) and less skilled (n = 11) participants sorted free-throw submovements according to their relatedness in movement execution. Data were analyzed using a hierarchical cluster analysis, factor analysis, and invariance test to examine between-group cluster comparisons. Cluster solutions for the skilled and less skilled participants were significantly variant (λ = 0.56). This method of measuring MRs distinguished expertise-related differences in MRs in an adolescent population. Findings may influence methods in which practitioners detect motor-planning faults, track development, and provide feedback to trainees.

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Linda Schücker, Christian Knopf, Bernd Strauss and Norbert Hagemann

The aim of this study was to examine differentiated effects of internally focused attention in endurance sports. Thirty-two active runners ran 24 min on a treadmill at a fixed speed of moderate intensity. For each 6-min block, participants had to direct their attention on different internal aspects (movement execution, breathing, or feeling of the body) or received no instructions. Oxygen consumption (VO2) was measured continuously to determine running economy. Results revealed that the different internal focus instructions had differentiated effects on VO2: A focus on breathing as well as a focus on the running movement led to higher VO2 than a focus on feeling of the body which showed similar VO2 as the control condition. We conclude that an internal focus of attention is solely detrimental to performance when directed to highly automated processes (e.g., breathing or movement). However, an internal focus on how the body feels during exercise does not disrupt movement efficiency.