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Behav Brain Res. 1992 Dec 31;52(2):167-74.

The effect of imagery perspectives on the psychophysiological responses to imagined exercise.

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Department of Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin-Madison 53706.


The effect of imagery perspectives, i.e. internal imagery vs. external imagery, on the psychophysiological responses to imagined exercise was investigated in the present study. Thirty male and female college students were randomly assigned to perform either internal imagery, external imagery or simple rest in addition to actual exercise. Metabolic, cardiovascular and perceptual responses were recorded before, during and after imagined exercise, actual exercise and rest. The results indicated that internal imagery resulted in a significant increase in ventilation and this response differed from the control condition. Effort sense was higher with internal imagery compared with external imagery. However, both internal and external imagery produced significant elevations in systolic blood pressure (SBP) from pre- to post-imagery, and these values were identical to those observed with actual exercise. Therefore, some responses to imagery were like those seen during actual exercise. Oxygen consumption (VO2), respiratory rate (RR), respiratory exchange ratio (RER), heart rate (HR) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) were similar between internal and external imagery. It is concluded that the psychophysiological responses to internal imagery resemble actual exercise more than external imagery.

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