Action observation versus motor imagery in learning a complex motor task: A short review of literature and a kinematics study


Gatti, G. and Tellamanti, A. and Gough, Patricia and Raboldi, E. and Marinoni, L. and Buccino, G. (2013) Action observation versus motor imagery in learning a complex motor task: A short review of literature and a kinematics study. Neuroscience Letters, 504. pp. 37-42. ISSN 0304-3940

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Abstract

Both motor imagery and action observation have been shown to play a role in learning or re-learning complex motor tasks. According to a well accepted view they share a common neurophysiological basis in the mirror neuron system. Neurons within this system discharge when individuals perform a specific action and when they look at another individual performing the same or a motorically related action. In the present paper, after a short review of literature on the role of action observation and motor imagery in motor learning, we report the results of a kinematics study where we directly compared motor imagery and action observation in learning a novel complex motor task. This involved movement of the right hand and foot in the same angular direction (in-phase movement), while at the same time moving the left hand and foot in an opposite angular direction (anti-phase movement), all at a frequency of 1 Hz. Motor learning was assessed through kinematics recording of wrists and ankles. The results showed that action observation is better than motor imagery as a strategy for learning a novel complex motor task, at least in the fast early phase of motor learning. We forward that these results may have important implications in educational activities, sport training and neurorehabilitation.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Mirror neuron system; Action observation; Motor imagery; Motor learning; Neurorehabilitation;
Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Psychology
Item ID: 4847
Identification Number: /10.1016/j.neulet.2012.11.039
Depositing User: Patricia Gough
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2014 10:19
Journal or Publication Title: Neuroscience Letters
Publisher: Elsevier
Refereed: Yes
URI:

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