THE EFFECT OF ACTION OBSERVATION AND MOTOR IMAGERY ON CORTICOSPINAL EXCITABILITY DURING A MOTOR-RELATED TASK IN HEALTHY ADULTS
Although action observation and motor imagery have typically been viewed as independent techniques for motor learning, research has found increased learning outcomes when action observation and motor imagery are used simultaneously. While behavioural studies have shown the combined use of action observation and motor imagery results in greater learning outcomes, the link between neurophysiological processes behind the enhanced performance outcomes previous studies have found is largely unknown. A scoping review with an overarching objective of investigating the effect of AO, MI and AO+MI on corticospinal excitability during a motor-related task was performed, with a secondary objective of identifying methodological factors (e.g. task type, session length) that influence increased corticospinal excitability. Findings revealed AO+MI did not result in significantly increased corticospinal excitability compared to AO or MI alone. Increased performance outcomes may be attributed to increased activity during AO+MI of areas outside of the primary motor cortex.