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Timing processes in motor imagery

Grealy, M.A. and Shearer, G.F. (2008) Timing processes in motor imagery. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 20 (5). pp. 867-892. ISSN 1464-0635

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Abstract

Previous research shows inconsistencies in the timing of imagined and actual actions. Little is known about the timing in imagery, or how it relates to other forms of timing. Two studies examined whether imagery timing followed Weber's law, where variations in judgements grow linearly as the interval duration increases, or Vierordt's law, where short durations are overestimated and longer durations underestimated. In Study 1 participants (n=22) mentally walked and estimated journey times for flat paths and stairways, with and without a load. The timing patterns that emerged did not conform to Weber's law. In Study 2 participants (n=20) completed imagery, reproduction, production, and estimation timing tasks. Timing errors for imagery along a straight path, reproduction, estimation, and production all showed 'Vierordt-like' effects. However, when imagining walking in a square participants consistently overestimated. It was concluded that imagery and interval timing processes are similar, but imagery timing is task dependent.