Adding movement to 'dry run' mental imagery enhances performance

February 19, 2013

Adding movement to mental rehearsal can improve performance finds a study in BioMed Central's open access journal Behavioral and Brain Functions. For high jumpers the study shows that dynamic imagery improves the number of successful attempts and the technical performance of jumps.

The technique of mental rehearsal is used to consolidate performance in many disciplines including music and sport. Motor imagery and physical practice use overlapping in the brain and the two together can improve performance as well as promoting recovery from injury. Researchers from the Centre de Recherche et d'Innovation sur le Sport found that adding simple movements to mental rehearsal could further improve performance by a third.

When they looked at the rates of 'hit' or 'miss' for high jumpers taught to use either internal visual imagery or external visual imagery (such as mimicking the during the jump), the researchers found that while mental rehearsal improved performance by 35%, mental rehearsal plus 'dry run' movements increased performance by 45%. Dynamic imagery scored the highest for all measured aspects of the jump including approach, curve, impulsion, and bar clearance. It also shortened the number of jumps required

Prof Aymeric Guillot, who led the study, said, "Our study on high jumpers suggests that dynamic imagery may provide a training edge to professional and amateur athletes. This technique may also be of use to people in other disciplines where 'dry run' rehearsals are routinely used."

Explore further: Imagination can influence perception

Related Stories

Imagination can influence perception

June 16, 2011

Imagining something with our mind's eye is a task we engage in frequently, whether we're daydreaming, conjuring up the face of a childhood friend, or trying to figure out exactly where we might have parked the car. But how ...

Mental simulations of social thought and action

August 5, 2011

We live in a world with people from diverse cultures, different societies and varied communities. Unfortunately, all those differences can sometimes result in segregation and discrimination. Reducing prejudice and creating ...

Brain rehearsal time ensures lasting memory performance

February 14, 2012

University of Alberta researchers have established that the ability of the brain to rehearse or repeat electrical impulses may be absolutely critical in order to make a newly acquired memory more permanent.

Recommended for you

Babies need free tongue movement to decipher speech sounds

October 12, 2015

Inhibiting infants' tongue movements impedes their ability to distinguish between speech sounds, researchers with the University of British Columbia have found. The study is the first to discover a direct link between infants' ...

Women and men react differently to infidelity

October 8, 2015

If your partner has sex with someone else, it is considered infidelity - even if no emotions are involved. But it is also considered infidelity when your significant other develops a close personal relationship with someone ...

Repeating aloud to another person boosts recall

October 6, 2015

Repeating aloud boosts verbal memory, especially when you do it while addressing another person, says Professor Victor Boucher of the University of Montreal's Department of Linguistics and Translation. His findings are the ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.