Speed of image manipulation, imagery ability and motor skill acquisition

Geoff Lovell, Dave Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article

7 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this investigation was to identify the underpinning mechanisms responsible for the relationship between the ability to mentally imagine movements and motor skill acquisition rate. Thirty-six right-handed males were split into high and low mental imagery (MI) ability groups based on their Movement Imagery Questionnaire (MIQ Hall & Pongrac, 1983) scores. Participants then completed a computer based pattern drawing learning paradigm under one of three mental practice (MP) time duration conditions: long / medium / short-15 / 10 / 5 seconds. The most pertinent of the results was the significant movement MI ability by MP condition interaction during early practice, F (4, 54) = 4.84, p <0.01, power = 0.94, which then faded with further practice. This result demonstrates the lower movement MI ability groups' acquisition performance to be far more detrimentally affected as the time pressure for MP increased, as compared to the higher movement MI ability groups. This finding suggests that the rate of image manipulation appears to be a key factor in the mechanism responsible for the relationship between the ability to mentally image movement and acquisition rate. Accordingly, sport psychology mental imagery intervention design for individuals low in the ability to perform MI of movement must take this into consideration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-368
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Sport Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2001
Externally publishedYes



  • Learning
  • Mental imagery ability

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