Assessing motor imagery using the hand rotation task: Does performance change across childhood?
Number of pages
SourceHuman Movement Science, 35, (2014), pp. 50-65
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OLO
Human Movement Science
SubjectLearning and Plasticity
This study examined at what age children can engage in the hand rotation task (as a measure of motor imagery); whether engagement changes across development and; the influence of age and motor skill on performance. Children were aged 5-12 years (N = 101; 52 girls), with no IQ or motor skill impairment. Less than 40% of 5-6 year olds completed the hand rotation with sufficient accuracy for further analysis, compared with 80% of 7-8 year olds, and 90% aged 9 and above. From age 7, either or both response time (RT) and accuracy conformed to the biomechanical constraints of corresponding physical movements. Although RT did not improve with age, accuracy did, with 11 year olds significantly more accurate than 7 and 8 year olds. Importantly, efficiency (RT/accuracy) improved with age and both age, in months, and motor skill level were significant predictors of efficiency, accounting for 35% and 8% of variability, respectively. Improvements in motor imagery ability during childhood are likely the result of increased neural efficiency, developing as the result of complex interactions between endogenous and exogenous factors. This highlights the need for a multidisciplinary approach to further our understanding of the emergence of motor imagery ability.
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