Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Daniel Roenker, Leroy Metze, Richard Miller

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The purpose of this study was to tap into and index the motor program that is believed to control human movement, and to use that index in the prediction of future performance on the same task. A total of 75 right-handed undergraduates were tested on the rotor pursuit operating at 45 revolutions-per-minute, subjects were asked to imagine themselves tracking the target with the stylus in their left hand. During the imagery trial or trials, depending on group assignment, the subjects verbalized the word "top" each time their image made one complete revolution. Each subject received an initial 20 sec of mental imagery which included the "top" procedure. Following the initial mental imagery, each subject in each group received 12 practice trials. For Group 1 a trial consisted of 20 sec of left handed physical practice, 20 sec of mental imagery, and 40 sec of occupied rest. A trial for Group 2 was 20 sec of left hand physical practice followed by 60 sec of occupied rest, and for group 3 a trial was up of 40 sec of left hand physical practice, followed by 40 sec of occupied rest. Accuracy of the motor program was measured by the number of "tops" the subject verbalized (the accuracy of their mental image) during each 20 sec imagery trial. Physical performance was measured by the total amount of time the subject kept the stylus over the rotating target during each performance trial.

An analysis of variance showed that the three groups did not differ in their level of performance over trials (F=.43, p>.05). This result was unexpected, but could be attributed to the effects of work decrement (Kohl and Roenker, 1980). This analysis of as expected the three groups all performance over practice trials variance also showed that improved their level of (F=60.57, P<.01). A second analysis of variance showed that the three groups did not differ in the accuracy of their initial mental images of the task (F=1.09, P>.05). A third analysis of variance showed that group l's image accuracy changed over trials, that is they improved their accuracy over trials (F=5.86, P<.01). The most important analysis was on the data for group 1. A regression analysis was conducted by use of the Times Series Analysis Parks Method. This regression showed that the number of previous trials and the accuracy of the mental image was a significant model to use to predict future physical performance (Beta values for the two variables were 1.57 for the number of previous trials, and .24 for the accuracy of the mental image, P<.05 for both variables).


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

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