Combining observation and imagery of an action enhances human corticospinal excitability

Masanori Sakamoto*, Tetsuro Muraoka, Nobuaki Mizuguchi, Kazuyuki Kanosue

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Citations (Scopus)


The present study investigated whether combining observation and imagery of an action increased corticospinal excitability over the effects of either manipulation performed alone. Corticospinal excitability was assessed by motor-evoked potentials in the biceps brachii muscle following transcranial magnetic stimulation over the motor cortex during observation, imagery or both. The action utilized was repetitive elbow flexion/extension. Simultaneous observation and imagery of the elbow action facilitated corticospinal excitability as compared to that recorded during observation or imagery alone. However, facilitation due to the combination of observation and imagery was not obtained when the participants imagined the action pattern while they observed the same action presented out of phase. These findings suggest that a combination of observation and imagery can enhance corticospinal excitability. This enhancement depends on phase consistency between the observed and imagined actions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-27
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Sept


  • Corticospinal excitability
  • Imagery
  • Motor-evoked potentials
  • Observation
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Combining observation and imagery of an action enhances human corticospinal excitability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this