Prior to experimental sessions, the mental capacity of subjects to learn the imagery techniques was tested by the Kinesthetic and Visual Imagery Questionnaire and a chronometric test. The Kinesthetic and Visual Imagery Questionnaire is an imagery assessment tool comprised of 10 items, each scored on a five-point ordinal scale, including the image clarity (visual dimension) and the sensations intensity (kinesthetic dimension) of body movements. Each item describes an action: (i) neck flexion/extension, (ii) shoulder shrugging, (iii) forward trunk flexion, (iv) forward LY2835219 cost shoulder flexion, (v) elbow flexion, (vi) thumb to finger tips, (vii) knee extension, (viii) hip abduction, (ix)
foot external rotation, and (x) foot tapping. Subjects physically execute each movement and immediately afterwards imagine performing the same movement. A score of 5 corresponds
to the highest clarity/intensity, and a score of 1 corresponds to the lowest clarity/ intensity (for a review, see Malouin et al., 2007). The Kinesthetic and Visual Imagery Questionnaire scores allowed the researcher to assess each participant’s abilities and decide whether the subject was a suitable selleck chemical candidate for MP. Comparing actual and imagined movement times, the chronometric test determined the motor imagery ability of participants. For the test, sitting on a chair with a back rest with both feet resting on the floor, the subject was asked (i) to physically write one six-letter word, and (ii) to imagine the same movement for each upper limb (dominant and non-dominant hand). Two trials were performed. The test always began with the dominant hand. A motor imagery index was calculated (imagery time/executed time) for each subject as an indicator of the temporal congruence of the imaged and physically executed task. If the duration of imagined action had a much larger variance (> 0.4) than the real movement duration, the subject was excluded. Subjects who successfully performed the chronometric test and reached high Kinesthetic and Visual Urease Imagery Questionnaire scores were invited
to participate in experimental sessions. For the experimental sessions, the subjects were seated in a comfortable chair, with head and arm rests. With closed eyes and through earphones, the instructions for mental activity were provided by an audiotape, recorded by a female voice. The tape lasted 13 min and consisted of three steps. Three minutes of relaxation exercises, in which the subject was instructed to imagine him/herself in a warm, relaxing place (e.g. a beach) and to contract and relax different muscle groups in the body (i.e. progressive relaxation) (Page et al., 2007). Seven minutes of mentally writing, in which the subject was instructed to imagine him/herself writing Portuguese words (a six-word set) with the non-dominant hand. Each six-word set was composed of a sequence of four/six/eight-letter words.