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The Role of Movement Representation Techniques in the Motor Learning Process: A Neurophysiological Hypothesis and a Narrative Review

1
Departamento de Fisioterapia, Centro Superior de Estudios Universitarios La Salle, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 28023 Madrid, Spain
2
Motion in Brains Research Group, Institute of Neuroscience and Sciences of the Movement (INCIMOV), Centro Superior de Estudios Universitarios La Salle, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 28023 Madrid, Spain
3
Department of Physiotherapy, Cardenal Herrera University-CEU, CEU Universities, 46115 Valencia, Spain
4
Instituto de Neurociencia y Dolor Craneofacial (INDCRAN), 28008 Madrid, Spain
5
Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria del Hospital Universitario La Paz (IdiPAZ), 28029 Madrid, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(1), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10010027
Received: 22 November 2019 / Revised: 19 December 2019 / Accepted: 30 December 2019 / Published: 2 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuromodulation and Executive Control of Human Movements)
We present a neurophysiological hypothesis for the role of motor imagery (MI) and action observation (AO) training in the motor learning process. The effects of movement representation in the brain and those of the cortical–subcortical networks related to planning, executing, adjusting, and automating real movements share a similar neurophysiological activity. Coupled with the influence of certain variables related to the movement representation process, this neurophysiological activity is a key component of the present hypothesis. These variables can be classified into four domains: physical, cognitive–evaluative, motivational–emotional, and direct-modulation. The neurophysiological activity underlying the creation and consolidation of mnemonic representations of motor gestures as a prerequisite to motor learning might differ between AO and MI. Together with variations in cognitive loads, these differences might explain the differing results in motor learning. The mirror neuron system appears to function more efficiently through AO training than MI, and AO is less demanding in terms of cognitive load than MI. AO might be less susceptible to the influence of variables related to movement representation. View Full-Text
Keywords: movement representation; motor learning; motor imagery; action observation; neurophysiological hypotheses; mirror neuron system movement representation; motor learning; motor imagery; action observation; neurophysiological hypotheses; mirror neuron system
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Cuenca-Martínez, F.; Suso-Martí, L.; León-Hernández, J.V.; La Touche, R. The Role of Movement Representation Techniques in the Motor Learning Process: A Neurophysiological Hypothesis and a Narrative Review. Brain Sci. 2020, 10, 27.

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