Assessing motor imagery ability in younger and older adults by combining measures of vividness, controllability and timing of motor imagery.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Brain Res, Volume 1597, p.196-209 (2015)


<p>With the population aging, a large number of patients undergoing rehabilitation are older than 60 years. Also, since the use of motor imagery (MI) training in rehabilitation is becoming more popular, it is important to gain a better knowledge about the age-related changes in MI ability. The main goal of this study was to compare MI ability in younger and older adults as well as to propose a new procedure for testing this ability. Thirty healthy young subjects (mean age: 22.9±2.7 years) and 28 healthy elderly subjects (mean age: 72.4±5.5 years) participated in the experiment. They were administered three tests aimed at assessing three dimensions of MI: (1) the kinesthetic and visual imagery questionnaire (KVIQ) to assess MI vividness; (2) a finger-thumb opposition task to assess MI controllability; and (3) a chronometric task to assess the timing of MI. On average, the younger and older groups showed similar results on the KVIQ and the chronometric task, but the younger group was more accurate at the finger-thumb opposition task. Interestingly, there was a large variability in the performance within both groups, emphasizing the importance of considering each person individually regarding MI ability, whatever his age. Finally, we propose two indexes of MI ability to identify the potential of persons to engage in MI training programs. Future studies are needed to confirm the predictive value of these MI indexes and define inclusion/exclusion thresholds for their use as a screening tool in both younger and older adults.</p>

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