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Acta Psychol (Amst). 1990 Feb;73(1):13-34.

Brain structures participating in mental simulation of motor behavior: a neuropsychological interpretation.

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Institut de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Bron, France.


This paper reviews findings from cognitive and sport psychology, as well as from neurophysiology, concerning mental simulation of movement. A neuropsychological hypothesis is advanced to explain why mental practice can improve motor skill learning. Mental practice activates certain brain structures selectively as shown by measurements of regional cerebral blood flow. It appears likely that this activation improves the subsequent control of execution of movements. It is pointed out that the study of simulation of movements may not only be of value for sport training but also have importance for the rehabilitation of patients with motor disturbances following lesions of the central nervous system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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