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Children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) have difficulty imagining movements such that they conform to the customary temporal constraints of real performance. We examined whether this ability is influenced by the choice of task used to elicit motor imagery (MI). Performance of typically developing (TD) (n = 30) and children with DCD (n = 30) was compared on two tasks: the Visually Guided Pointing Task (VGPT) and the Computerized Virtual Radial Fitts Task (C-VRFT). Since the VGPT places higher demands on executive functions like working memory but requires less spatial planning, we reasoned that the C-VRFT would provide a purer measure of motor imagery (or simulation). Based on our earlier work, we predicted that imagery deficits in DCD would more likely manifest on the C-VRFT. Results showed high correlations between tasks in terms of executed and imagined movement time suggest that both tasks measure MI ability. However, group differences were more pronounced in the imagined condition of the radial Fitts’ task. Taken together, the more spatially complex C-VRFT appears to be a more sensitive measure of motor imagery, better discriminating between DCD and TD. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.

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Journal Article

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