Increasing convergence between imagined and executed movement across development: Evidence for the emergence of movement representations

Caeyenberghs, K, Wilson, P, Van Roon, D, Swinnen, S and Smits-Engelsman, B 2009, 'Increasing convergence between imagined and executed movement across development: Evidence for the emergence of movement representations', Developmental Science, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 474-483.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Increasing convergence between imagined and executed movement across development: Evidence for the emergence of movement representations
Author(s) Caeyenberghs, K
Wilson, P
Van Roon, D
Swinnen, S
Smits-Engelsman, B
Year 2009
Journal name Developmental Science
Volume number 12
Issue number 3
Start page 474
End page 483
Total pages 10
Publisher Blackwell Publishing
Abstract Motor imagery (MI) has become a principal focus of interest in studies on brain and behavior. However, changes in MI across development have received virtually no attention so far. In the present study, children (N = 112, 6 to 16 years old) performed a new, computerized Virtual Radial Fitts Task (VRFT) to determine their MI ability as well as the age-related confluence between performance in executed and imagined movement conditions. Participants aimed at five targets, which were positioned along radial axes from a central target circle. The targets differed in width (2.5, 5, 10, 20 or 40 mm), resulting in an index of difficulty (ID) that varied from 6.9 to 2.9 bits. Performance was indexed by the linear relationship between ID and Movement Time (MT). The findings showed that executed task performance was slower than imagined performance. Moreover, conformance to Fitts' Law during executed movement performance was obtained from a very young age. Most importantly, correlations between imagined and executed movements were low in the young participants but gradually increased across age. These age-related changes in MI are hypothesized to reflect the children's emerging ability to represent internal models for prospective actions, consistent with the gradual unfolding of feedforward control processes.
Subject Developmental Psychology and Ageing
Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Keyword(s) motor Imagery
motor development
motor control
cognition
DOI - identifier 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2008.00803.x
Copyright notice Blackwell Publishing & the authors 2009
ISSN 1363-755X
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