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Functional equivalence or behavioural matching? A critical reflection on 15 years of research using the PETTLEP model of motor imagery

Wakefield, Caroline and Smith, Dave and Moran, Aidan Patrick and Holmes, Paul (2015) Functional equivalence or behavioural matching? A critical reflection on 15 years of research using the PETTLEP model of motor imagery. International review of sport and exercise psychology, 6 (1). pp. 105-121. ISSN 1750-984X

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Abstract

Motor imagery, or the mental rehearsal of actions in the absence of physical movement, is an increasingly popular construct in fields such as neuroscience, cognitive psychology and sport psychology. Unfortunately, few models of motor imagery have been postulated to date. Nevertheless, based on the hypothesis of functional equivalence between imagery, perception and motor execution, Holmes and Collins in 2001 developed the PETTLEP model of motor imagery in an effort to provide evidence-based guidelines for imagery practice in sport psychology. Given recent advances in theoretical understanding of functional equivalence, however, it is important to provide a contemporary critical reflection on motor imagery research conducted using this model. The present article addresses this objective. We begin by explaining the background to the development of the PETTLEP model. Next, we evaluate key issues and findings in PETTLEP-inspired research. Finally, we offer suggestions for, and new directions in, research in this field.

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