Physical training and motor imagery training on intermanual transfer
Intermanual (bilateral) transfer is transferring motor skills or movements learned from one limb to another. The motor skills or movements can be learned by either physically or mentally, which we call physical practice or motor imagery practice. Motor imagery refers to using imagination or memory to rehearse an action or a movement rather than physically act it out with the purpose of improving the motor performance. It has great similarity with the physical practice in processing intermanual transfer learning. Researchers have great interest in physical execution training of intermanual transfer, but the study of motor imagery transfer is relatively rare. A most recently study (Amemiya, et al. 2010) on this issue showed that imagery training was even better than physical execution training in improving sequential and speed of intermanual transfer task. However, their study only tested the transfer from non-dominant hand to dominant hand, and the transfer test was only conducted in a mirror sequence. In addition, they use very limited training period (5 trials) to practice. The purposes of this study were to further examine both motor imagery and motor execution on the intermanual transfer. The procedure of this study was adopted from the Amemiya's research. A sequential tapping task on a numeral keypad was used in this study. Ninety participants were asked to practice in either motor imagery or physical practice of the same task for sixty trails. Both transfer directions (dominant hand to non-dominant hand and non-dominant hand to dominant hand) and the transfer type (original and mirror version) were observed. The speed of the tapping task was used as the dependent variable.