With the present study we addressed the question of whether general motor imagery ability (MIA), as determined by questionnaire, predicts estimation of reachability in children ages 6 to 12 years of age. Estimation of reachability involves the use of motor (kinesthetic) imagery to derive a perceptual/cognitive (verbal) estimate of whether an object is within or out of reach. Our initial prediction was that older children would score higher than their younger counterparts in MIA, resulting in more accurate reach responses. Results indicated that, although younger children's MIA scores were significantly lower than their older counterparts, reach responses were similar. Moreover, relationship analysis indicated a non-significant association between MIA and estimation of reachability. Explanations for the MIA difference focus on differences in cognitive ability and movement experience. Furthermore, we speculated that with the visual information provided by the reach task, the younger children were able to imagine reachability at a level comparable to their older counterparts. In essence, the results suggest that the MIA questionnaire and estimation of reach task tap different processing modes, which account for the differential outcome.
©2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston