Questionnaires do not discriminate motor imagery ability of people with different motor expertise

Francesco Di Gruttola, Laura Sebastiani


Questionnaires are presented as reliable measure of motor imagery (MI), i.e. the ability to mentally simulate a movement in an internal perspective. Although there is some evidence that MI is domain-specific (i.e., i.e., higher scores for motor imagery may be generated by people with extensive real-world experience and practice), MI studies have typically employed fixed and generic movements as items. Thus, we investigated the content validity of the movement items of the Vividness of Movement Imagery Questionnaire–2 (VMIQ-2). Sixty participants were divided in groups of athletes (competitive and not-competitive, with an extensive motor experience) and not-athletes (with a reduced motor experience) and analysed by means of a mixed factorial MANOVA. The three MI modalities, external visual, internal visual and kinesthetic imagery, did not result in significantly different scores between the groups. We recommend caution in using MI generic questionnaires in studies that compare people with different motor experiences. Moreover, we suggest that the structure of the questionnaires should be redesigned, in order to make them adaptable to the specific needs of professionals and researchers.


Motor imagery; Assessment; Sport Psychology; Vividness of movement; Imagery questionnaire

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