The functional equivalence between movement imagery, observation, and execution influences imagery ability

Res Q Exerc Sport. 2011 Sep;82(3):555-64. doi: 10.1080/02701367.2011.10599788.


Based on literature identifying movement imagery, observation, and execution to elicit similar areas of neural activity, research has demonstrated that movement imagery and observation successfully prime movement execution. To investigate whether movement and observation could prime ease of imaging from an external visual-imagery perspective, an internal visual-imagery perspective, and kinesthetic modality, 36 participants (M age = 20.58; SD = 3.11; 18 women and 18 men) completed an adapted version of the Movement Imagery Questionnaire-Revised under four modes of delivery (movement prime, external observation prime, internal observation prime, and image-only). The results revealed that ease of imaging was significantly greater during the movement and observation prime conditions compared to the image-only condition (p < .05). Specifically when priming external visual imagery and internal visual imagery, observation facilitated ease of imaging only when the perspective was congruent with the imagery perspective. The results support the use of movement and observation to facilitate ease of imaging, but highlight the importance of considering the visual perspective when using observation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imagination*
  • Kinesthesis*
  • Male
  • Movement*
  • Observation*
  • Sports
  • Young Adult