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Exploring the use of combined action observation and motor imagery for improving eye-hand coordination in children with developmental coordination disorder

Marshall, Ben (2018) Exploring the use of combined action observation and motor imagery for improving eye-hand coordination in children with developmental coordination disorder. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

This thesis documents a series of studies that are the first to demonstrate the efficacy of combined action observation and motor imagery (AOMI) for improving eye-hand coordination and task performance in individuals with and without developmental coordination disorder (DCD). First, a comparison of the effectiveness of AOMI, observing to imitate, and passive observation training interventions is reported. The results indicated that, in comparison to a control group, AOMI training produced a statistically significant increase in both task performance and eye-hand coordination, but no such improvements were found following observing to imitate or passive observation instructions. These findings suggest that AOMI facilitated the development of proactive eye movements that enhanced task performance. Second, the eye-hand coordination and task performance of children with and without DCD on a novel visuomotor task was explored. The findings from this study, in accordance with similar studies, indicated that the novel visuomotor task used in the study might have lacked the necessary complexity required to find significant differences in visuomotor performance between children with and without DCD. Third, the development of a new visuomotor task of higher complexity and suitable for use in an AOMI training intervention for children with DCD is reported. Analysis indicated a higher number of trials were required before performance plateaued and the best task performers adopted a distinct movement pattern. These results confirmed that the new task required a longer period of adaptation and supported the application of this task with DCD children in an AOMI training intervention. In the final study, the effects of an AOMI training intervention upon eye-hand coordination and performance in children with DCD are reported. Analysis of the data revealed that the AOMI training produced significant improvements in completion time and gaze control. It was concluded that children with DCD may benefit from AOMI training as the technique may aid their ability to update internal models of movement. This series of studies was the first to explore the effectiveness of AOMI training for improving eye-hand coordination and extend those findings to a clinical population. The results of these studies describe a conclusion that AOMI facilitates the development of proactive gaze, which in turn assists performance.

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