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From The CriticsReviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: Mental imagery has long been a focus of neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists, but the motor aspects of this phenomenon have been largely ignored. There is great potential in better understanding motor imagery in terms of enhanced performance in, for example sports or music, as well as in biomechanics and brain-computer interfaces.
Purpose: The goals of this book range from exploring the boundaries of the motor imagery phenomenon to critically evaluating its potential contributions to a multitude of fields.
Audience: This is appropriate for neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists in the main, but it also may appeal to biologists, clinical psychologists, sports psychologists, and others involved in performance enhancement. The editors are steeped in this field and make regular scientific contributions to it.
Features: It is clear from the beginning that this book assumes as least a moderate level of familiarity with neuroscience concepts. For example, the first chapter discusses neuroanatomy in terms of Brodmann areas. The issue of motor imagery versus execution is tackled as early as the third chapter. A series of chapters address a variety of measurement techniques for motor imagery, including EEG and EMG. A few figures help to highlight the findings, but these are sparse and of mediocre quality. Thereafter, some overlap sets in with the chapter on autonomic nervous system functioning and the neurophysiological substrates of motor imagery. This is followed, however, by an excellent review of studies on movement disorders rehabilitation with motor imagery. A nice table lists these interventions and associated disorders, but it is tempered by a welcome discussion of limitations in the current body of literature. Color plates appear towards the middle of the book, but even these are not up the quality of figures found in other books, especially with their small size. The last few chapters focus on the practical applications of motor imagery. Although these are a valuable addition to the book, readers can find more extensive information in a dedicated sports psychology text. The references are current and extensive and the index is helpful.
Assessment: This book provides an intriguing look at an oft-neglected area of mental imagery research. The theoretical and practical applications are well laid out and provide a balanced viewpoint on the current state of the science in this field.