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Fundamentals of Imagery

The use of imagery (also known as mental rehearsal or visualization) is described. Theories of how imagery works are outlined (with references), as well as important characteristics for effectively using imagery in skill development.

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Imagery is creating or re-creating an experience in the mind through the use of all the senses. Imagery is used for a variety of reasons, including as a component in cognitive behavioral therapies, relaxation techniques, or skill acquisition or practice for athletes. Other terms for imagery that are sometimes used are mental rehearsal, mental practice, or visualization.

Two main schools of thought exist for how imagery works. First, there is the belief that when we call upon an image in our mind, we can physically "see" that image and it feels very real to us. Those that agree with this theory are called "pictoralists." However, "descriptionists" believe that we are not really seeing an image in our mind, it's just that our extensive and graphic use of language makes it feel as if we are.

As for the specifics of how imagery actually works in the brain, various theories exist. Psychoneuromuscular theory (Jacobsen, 1930; Richardson, 1967) ...

Solution Summary

The use of imagery (also known as mental rehearsal or visualization) is described. Theories of how imagery works are outlined (with references), as well as important characteristics for effectively using imagery in skill development.

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