Does motor imagery modality-dominance influence the effectiveness of attentional focus instructions

Moslem Bahmani *, Jed A. Diekfuss ** and Mehrzad Kharestani ***

(*) Department of Motor Behavior, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran
(**) The SPORT Center, Division of Sports Medicine, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA
(***) Department of Motor Behavior, Urmia University, Urmia, Iran

This study investigated the effects of internal versus external focus of attention instructions on performance and learning in individuals with either kinesthetic or visual motor imagery dominance. In experiment 1, we tested the effects of internal versus external focus instructions on stabilometer balance performance using a within-subjects design. The results revealed that individuals with higher visual imagery scores performed the task better under an external focus conditions than an internal focus. Also, no significant differences for attentional focus were observed for individuals with higher kinesthetic imagery scores. In experiment 2, we investigated the effects of internal versus external focus instruction on the performance and learn- ing of dart throwing task using a between-subjects design. Results indicated that kinesthetic dominant participants performed better during acquisition irrespective of attentional focus. However, during retention visual dominant had more accurate throws when adopting an external focus compared to visual dominant participants who adopted an internal focus. No differences were observed when kinesthetic dom- inant participants adopted an external focus compared to kinesthetic dominant par- ticipants that adopted an internal focus. These results indicate that visual dominant participants may benefit more from external focus instruction, but neither focus is more effective for individuals dominant in kinesthetic imagery.

Keywords: External focus, Internal focus, Kinesthetic dominant, Learning, Per- formance, Visual dominant