The effects of visual imagery and modeling on a simple motor skill

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

First Committee Member

Carolyn Garwood - Committee Chair


This study examined the relative effectiveness of progressive muscle relaxation, task related and unrelated imagery, task related and unrelated modeling and physical practice, upon the acquisition of a motor skill. The task chosen for this study was golf putting.Subjects were volunteers (N = 50, 25 male and 25 female subjects) who were randomly assigned to four treatment groups and one physical practice group (10 subjects per group). Each psychological treatment group received a combination of 10 practice putts, followed by 5 minutes of progressive muscle relaxation, 5 minutes of task related or unrelated imagery, and five minutes of task related or unrelated modeling. Psychological treatments were delivered in a standardized video tape format. Each treatment group received a total of 8 training sessions including the pre and post test sessions. The total length of each treatment group session was approximately five hours.The golf putting task consisted of each subject putting in a 10 foot long artificial turf putting apparatus.Each treatment group improved from the pre-test to the post test period. Groups receiving unrelated imagery demonstrated significant gains in putting performance when compared to the groups receiving task related imagery. All other comparisons between treatment modalities failed to yield significant differences. Age of subjects was statistically corrected and the re-analysis of the data failed to yield any significant differences between treatment groups.The findings of this research effort do not support the differential effectiveness of task related vs. unrelated imagery, modeling, and physical practice.


Education, Educational Psychology

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