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Comparing the effectiveness of imagery and observation techniques for motor learning

Jan Zibelnik (2021) Comparing the effectiveness of imagery and observation techniques for motor learning. MSc thesis.

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    Mental imagery has been the subject of philosophical inquiry since ancient times. Scientific research about mental imagery began as early as the late 1800s. Action observation is a more recent concept that has been studied since the 1960s. In this thesis, I explored the effects of mental imagery and action observation on learning a novel and complex motor task of stacking cups. Based on previous research the hypothesis was that action observation will help improve performance better than mental imagery and an unrelated activity, i.e., simple arithmetic calculations. This hypothesis is based mostly on the assumption that the general population is less versed in mental imagery ability than professionals like artists and sportsmen who use mental imagery regularly. It is also proposed that action observation offers researchers and practitioners more control over the content of the intervention which should also positively affect the outcomes. Performance in the task was measured with time and accuracy across preand post-intervention trials. Mental imagery ability was measured with VMIQ-2, which was translated and adapted for use in the Slovenian environment and converted to digital form to assess whether this ability has any effects on learning using either method. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups. They performed either an action observation, mental imagery intervention, or solved arithmetic equations in between pre- and post-intervention trials of the experimental motor task of stacking cups. The results showed that action observation did not have statistically significant effects on performance in the task. I also concluded that action observation or mental imagery did not have statistically significant advantages over the control group which solved arithmetic problems to inhibit mental imagery. All of the analyses showed patterns that are consistent with the hypotheses that I was testing but had low statistical power and effect size. Finally, I tested the established hypothesis that a similar amount of time is needed for mental imagery and the actual performance of an action. This hypothesis was confirmed using correlations between the average time taken for all trials pre- and post-intervention compared to the average time needed for all mental imagery trials. I conclude this thesis with a discussion about how the results can be interpreted and how to mitigate the shortcomings of this investigation in future research.

    Item Type: Thesis (MSc thesis)
    Keywords: action observation, functional equivalence theory, model learning, simulation, motor learning, motor control
    Number of Pages: 57
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    doc. dr. Luka KomidarMentor
    prof. dr. Olga MarkičComentor
    Link to COBISS: https://plus.si.cobiss.net/opac7/bib/peflj/76566787
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 6911
    Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2021 08:25
    Last Modified: 16 Sep 2021 08:25
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/6911

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