Effect of association of imagery and physical practice on children’s motor learning

Patrícia Sayuri Takazono, Luis Augusto Teixeira


Imagery training has been shown to induce motor learning in adults, but similar evidence in children is scarce. In this experiment, we aimed to evaluate the effect of association between imagery and physical practice compared to pure physical practice in the learning of a manual task in 9-10 year-old children. The task consisted of transporting a block and fitting it into a support with speed and steadiness, assessing movement time to complete the “reaching” and “transport” task components. The children were assigned to one of three groups: (a) physical practice (PHYS) (240 trials), (b) combination (COMB) of imagery (180 trials) and physical (60 trials) practice, and (c) control (CON), associating visual rotation (180 trials) and physical practice (60 trials). Performance was evaluated immediately and 24 h after practice. Results indicated that the PHYS group achieved a persistent performance gain in the “transport”, but not in the “reaching” task component, while the COMB group achieved persistent performance gains in both movement components; no significant differences were found for the CON group. Our results suggest that imagery training improves the task mental representation in children, while physical practice provides sensory feedback on the performed movements. As a conclusion, the results suggest that combination of imagery and physical practice can be more effective than pure physical practice for children’s motor learning.


Child; Learning; Motor activity; Motor skills

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1590/1980-0037.2018v20n5p363

The abbreviated title of the journal is Rev. Bras. Cineantropom. Desempenho Hum, which should be used in bibliographies, footnotes and bibliographical references. E-ISSN 1980-0037, impressa ISSN 1415-8426, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.