The authors sought to gain further knowledge about activation of target muscles during imagery engagement in a motor task. Six hemiparetic patients and 9 healthy participants performed 3 real rises on tiptoes and then, after pausing, 3 imagery rises on tiptoes. Metronome beats guided the rate of rises and descents. Electromyographic (EMG) activity from the medial gastrocnemius and the rectus femoris muscles were monitored bilaterally throughout the performance of both tasks. In 3 healthy participants and 3 individuals with hemiparesis, EMG activity was related to the imagery task in at least 1 of the target muscles. Conversely, in the other participants, motor imagery practice was not accompanied by task-related EMG activity in the monitored muscles. In all cases, the increment in activation level during motor imagery practice was very low in comparison with that of real performance. The findings were not unequivocal; therefore, EMG activity may sometimes, but not always, be recorded during motor imagery practice both in healthy individuals and in poststroke hemiparetic participants. Further research is needed to align motor imagery practice with the objectives of motor rehabilitation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
A grant from the Chief Scientist office of the Ministry of Health, Israel, supported this study.
- Mental rehearsal
- Motor imagery
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience