More implicit and more explicit motor imagery tasks for exploring the mental representation of hands and feet in action

Federico Brusa*, Mustafa Suphi Erden, Anna Sedda

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

The mental representation of the body in action can be explored using motor imagery (MI) tasks. MI tasks can be allocated along a continuum going from more implicit to more explicit tasks, where the discriminant is the degree of action monitoring required to solve the tasks (which is the awareness of using the mental representation of our own body to monitor our motor imagery). Tasks based on laterality judgments, such as the Hand Laterality Task (HLT) and the Foot Laterality Task (FLT), provide an example of more implicit tasks (i.e., less action monitoring is required). While, an example of a more explicit task is the Mental Motor Chronometry task (MMC) for hands and feet, where individuals are asked to perform or imagine performing movements with their limbs (i.e., more action monitoring is required). In our study, we directly compared hands and feet at all these tasks for the first time, as these body districts have different physical features as well as functions. Fifty-five participants were asked to complete an online version of the HLT and FLT (more implicit measure), and an online version of the MMC task for hands and feet (more explicit measure). The mental representation of hands and feet in action differed only when the degree of action monitoring decreased (HLT ≠ FLT); we observed the presence of biomechanical constraints only for hands. Differently, when the degree of action monitoring increased hands and feet did not show any difference (MMC hands = MMC feet). Our results show the presence of a difference in the mental representation of hands and feet in action that specifically depends on the degree of action monitoring.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2765-2778
Number of pages14
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Volume241
Issue number11-12
Early online date19 Oct 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Keywords

  • Action monitoring
  • Body representation
  • Laterality task
  • Mental imagery
  • Motor imagery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience

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