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Reduced motor imagery efficiency is associated with online control difficulties in children with probable developmental coordination disorder

journal contribution
posted on 07.08.2015, 00:00 authored by Ian FuelscherIan Fuelscher, J Williams, Peter EnticottPeter Enticott, Christian HydeChristian Hyde
Recent evidence indicates that the ability to correct reaching movements in response to unexpected target changes (i.e., online control) is reduced in children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD). Recent computational modeling of human reaching suggests that these inefficiencies may result from difficulties generating and/or monitoring internal representations of movement. This study was the first to test this putative relationship empirically. We did so by investigating the degree to which the capacity to correct reaching mid-flight could be predicted by motor imagery (MI) proficiency in a sample of children with probable DCD (pDCD). Thirty-four children aged 8 to 12 years (17 children with pDCD and 17 age-matched controls) completed the hand rotation task, a well-validated measure of MI, and a double-step reaching task (DSRT), a protocol commonly adopted to infer one's capacity for correcting reaching online. As per previous research, children with pDCD demonstrated inefficiencies in their ability to generate internal action representations and correct their reaching online, demonstrated by inefficient hand rotation performance and slower correction to the reach trajectory following unexpected target perturbation during the DSRT compared to age-matched controls. Critically, hierarchical moderating regression demonstrated that even after general reaching ability was controlled for, MI efficiency was a significant predictor of reaching correction efficiency, a relationship that was constant across groups. Ours is the first study to provide direct pilot evidence in support of the view that a decreased capacity for online control of reaching typical of DCD may be associated with inefficiencies generating and/or using internal representations of action.



Research in developmental disabilities




239 - 252




Amsterdam, The Netherlands





Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2015, Elsevier