Past research has indicated that motor imagery, or imagined movement, follows Fitts' law similarly to physical movement. Additionally, motor imagery has been shown to improve real motor performance in multiple contexts, showcasing a remarkable connection with real motion. The current study examines how the subject of motor imagery, imagining oneself, another person, or an object, impacts this faithfulness to real movement, specifically in following Fitts' law. Participants viewed 2D photos of a virtual environment with an "X", a humanoid, or a disc facing a gate at 6 distances and 4 widths for 24 combinations. Each combination was repeated twice randomly for 48 trials per condition, and conditions were presented in random order for a total of 144 trials. Results indicate that object-imagery does trigger motor imagery and follow Fitts' law, in contrast to prior research. However, further analysis showed that the function produced in the object condition was significantly different from both self and other, while self and other were not significantly different from one another. This was due to a higher index of performance value in the object condition, implying that participants assigned the object different abilities than the two human-centered conditions. These results indicate a difference related to biological, or perhaps human, motion, and future studies should further explore the impact of the subject and characteristics of the subject on motor imagery. Understanding these intricacies is crucial to refine and understand the benefits of motor imagery seen in multiple motor performance contexts.
McConnell, Daniel S.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Hinkle, Sean D., "Utilizing Fitts' Law to Examine Motor Imagery of Self, Other, and Objects" (2021). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 991.