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Combined action observation and motor imagery: An intervention to combat the neural and behavioural deficits associated with developmental coordination disorder

Scott, Matthew and Wood, Greg and Holmes, Paul and Williams, Jacqueline and Marshall, Ben and Wright, David (2021) Combined action observation and motor imagery: An intervention to combat the neural and behavioural deficits associated with developmental coordination disorder. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. ISSN 0149-7634

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Abstract

Action observation (AO) and motor imagery (MI) have been used separately across different populations to alleviate movement impairment. Recently these two forms of covert motor simulation have been combined (combined action observation and motor imagery; AOMI), resulting in greater neurophysiological activity in the motor system, and more favourable behavioural outcomes when compared to independent AO and MI. This review aims to outline how some of the neural deficits associated with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) are evident during AO and MI, and highlight how these motor simulation techniques have been used independently to improve motor skill learning in children in this population. The growing body of evidence indicating that AOMI is superior to the independent use of either AO and MI is then synthesised and discussed in the context of children with DCD. To conclude, recommendations to optimise the delivery of AOMI for children with DCD are provided and future avenues for research are highlighted.

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