Kinesthetic Imagery Provides Additive Benefits to Internal Visual Imagery on Slalom Task Performance

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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Recent brain imaging research demonstrates that the use of internal visual imagery (IVI) or kinesthetic imagery (KIN) activates common and distinct brain areas. In this paper, we argue that combining the imagery modalities (IVI and KIN) will lead to a greater cognitive representation (with more brain areas activated), and this will cause a greater slalom-based motor performance compared with using IVI alone. To examine this assertion, we randomly allocated 56 participants to one of the three groups: IVI, IVI and KIN, or a math control group. Participants performed a slalom-based driving task in a driving simulator, with average lap time used as a measure of performance. Results revealed that the IVI and KIN group achieved significantly quicker lap times than the IVI and the control groups. The discussion includes a theoretical advancement on why the combination of imagery modalities might facilitate performance, with links made to the cognitive neuroscience literature and applied practice.

Nichola Callow, Dan Jiang, and Ross Roberts are with the Institute for the Psychology of Elite Performance, Bangor University, U.K. Martin G. Edwards is with the Institut de Recherches en Sciences Psychologiques, Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium.

Address author correspondence to Nichola Callow at n.callow@bangor.ac.uk.
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