Bakker, F. C., Boschker, M. S., & Chung, T. (1996). Changes in muscular activity while imagining weight lifting using stimulus or response propositions. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 18, 313-324.

Lang's dichtomous model of stimulus (descriptive characteristics) or response (kinesthetic) emphasis in imagery instructions was applied to movement images of lifting of 4.5 and 9 kg weights. Adult students (N = 39) served as Ss. During imaginary lifting of the weights, EMG activity of both biceps' brachii muscles was assessed. Imagery ability was measured with the Movement Imagery Questionnaire and another self-report rating scale.

When response/movement characteristics were emphasized in the script, imaginary weightlifting resulted in greater muscle activity than when stimulus propositions were emphasized. During imagined lifting, EMG activity of the active arm was greater than that of the passive arm. In addition, in the active arm, a significant difference in EMG activity was found between 9 kg and 4.5 kg. Lang's model is applicable to emotionally neutral movement imagery.

Implication. When instructing athletes about imagery associated with movements, the content should focus on how to do the action and the feelings/sensations that will result. This will result in more effective and accentuated imagery.

Return to Table of Contents for this issue.