Motor, visual and egocentric transformations in children with Developmental Coordination Disorder

Child Care Health Dev. 2006 Nov;32(6):633-47. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2214.2006.00688.x.


Aim: This study aimed to test the internal modelling deficit (IMD) hypothesis using the mental rotation paradigm.

Background: According to the IMD hypothesis, children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) have an impaired ability to internally represent action. Thirty-six children (18 DCD) completed four tasks: two versions of a single-hand rotation task (with and without explicit imagery instructions), a whole-body imagery task and an alphanumeric rotation task.

Results: There was partial support for the hypothesis that children with DCD would display an atypical pattern of performance on the hand rotation task, requiring implicit use of motor imagery. Overall, there were no significant differences between the DCD and control groups when the hand task was completed without explicit instructions, on either response time or accuracy. However, when imagery instructions were introduced, the controls were significantly more accurate than the DCD group, indicating that children with DCD were unable to benefit from explicit cuing. As predicted, the controls were also significantly more accurate than the DCD group on the whole-body task, with the accuracy of the DCD group barely rising above chance. Finally, and as expected, there was no difference between the groups on the alphanumeric task, a measure of visual (or object-related) imagery.

Conclusions: The inability of the DCD group to utilize specific motor imagery instructions and to perform egocentric transformations lends some support to the IMD hypothesis. Future work needs to address the question of whether the IMD itself is subgroup-specific.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motion Perception*
  • Motor Skills Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Motor Skills Disorders / psychology
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Orientation / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Reaction Time
  • Rotation