USE OF IMAGERY IN LEARNING
Denis, M. (1985). Visual imagery and the use of mental practice in the development of motor skills. Canadian Journal of Applied Sport Science, 10, 4S-16S.
Imagery allows people to anticipate events, therefore, it may be a vehicle for training untried forms of response. Imagery also acts as a device that enhances the memorization of kinesthetic acts. If those kinesthetic acts can be discriminated, such as after a good skill action, then learning should be accelerated. It is suggested that if individuals are taught how to image, less errors and faster learning can occur.
Mental practice/imagery is a composite of mental activities involving the recall of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic cues, not visualization alone. For it to be effective, it requires three major properties.
Uses of Imagery
Mental practice seems to have greater effects on tasks with high cognitive components (e.g., focused accuracy) and lesser effects on tasks with low cognitive use (e.g., muscular endurance). It would seem that tasks which yield clearly recalled experiences (e.g., a chess move) might benefit more from mental practice than those which produce a flood of jumbled feedback (e.g., baseball pitch).
The mental processes involved in mental practice change with the stages of learning. Eventually, there has to be some physical experience so that internal representations of movements will be correct.
The role of individual differences must always be considered in mental practice training and descriptions. It is possible that some individuals will favor the recall of some senses over others, however, kinesthetic recall is possibly the necessary sense for all mental practice of movements.
There are two theories as to why mental practice works that are commonly espoused.
These two theories are not incompatible. They both address different stages and forms of representation of a skill.
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