Comparing the effects of physical practice and mental imagery rehearsal on learning basic skills by medical students

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Scott and White Clinic, Texas A&M University Health Sciences Center, College Station, Tex, USA.
American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Impact Factor: 4.7). 12/2004; 191(5):1811-4. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajog.2004.07.075
Source: PubMed


The purpose of this study was to test the effects of varying the amount of physical practice and mental imagery rehearsal on learning basic surgical procedures.
Using a sample of 65 second-year medical students, 3 randomized groups received either: (1) 3 sessions of physical practice on suturing a pig's foot; (2) 2 sessions of physical practice and 1 session of mental imagery rehearsal; or (3) 1 session of physical practice and 2 sessions of imagery rehearsal. All participants then performed a surgery on a live rabbit in the operating theater of a veterinary college under approved conditions. Analysis of variance was applied to pre- and post-treatment ratings of surgical performance.
Physical practice followed by mental imagery rehearsal was statistically equal to additional physical practice.
Initial physical practice followed by mental imagery rehearsal may be a cost-effective method of training medical students in learning basic surgical skills.

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    • "In many ways, surgical performance is similar to competitive sports performance: both require intense concentration, complex fine and gross motor ability, and both are routinely performed in dynamic environments characterised by considerable pressure (Rogers 2006). Indeed, many surgeons anecdotally report using their own intuitive and informal imagery strategies, by going over the procedure in their mind before actually operating (Sanders et al. 2004). Given these parallels between surgery and sports performance, it seems plausible that MP could be useful for reducing stress and enhancing performance in surgeons. "
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    ABSTRACT: This chapter aims to provide a state-of-the-art review of the application of mental imagery and mental practice (or motor imagery) within surgical contexts. We first explain the terms mental imagery (a form of cognitive simulation) and mental practice (or the covert rehearsal of an action in one's imagination without executing the actual movements involved) and summarise the main theories of mental practice effects. We then propose some important similarities between the skilled performance of surgeons and that of elite athletes, and we review the current status of surgical training-highlighting the growing popularity of simulation methods as a cost-effective alternative to the traditional apprenticeship model whereby novice surgeons hone their skills through repeated supervised experience of operating. Next, we review available empirical research on the efficacy of mental practice interventions in training surgical skills-with special emphasis on the key methodological issues afflicting research in this field. Finally, we present our conclusions and identify some fruitful avenues for further research on mental practice in surgery and surgical training. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014
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    • "Bucher's (1993) study on nursing students showed that mental rehearsal plus physical practice produced the best performance of a skill which is in contrast to meta analyses on motor performance tasks indicating that physical practice alone is superior (Driskell, et al., 1994; Feltz & Landers, 1983). Sanders et al. (2004) showed that mental practice was as effective as physical practice in the performance of surgical skills. Likewise, most participants indicated that their imagery use helped them become a better AT which was consistent with our hypotheses; however, only 23% indicated that they had any formal training in imagery use. "
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    ABSTRACT: Knowledge of imagery is a required competency for athletic trainers (ATs) but research has yet to consider imagery use by ATs despite its relevant application for learning, planning, and controlling emotions in high stakes situations like rehabilitation, competency exams or novel injury situations. Aligned with the Applied Model of Mental Imagery, this study examined the cognitive and motivational functions of imagery used by 59 certified ATs and 34 AT students (N = 93, 19-48 years of age). Participants completed the Sport Imagery Questionnaire modified for the population. Image function and direction were also considered. Imagery training was only reported by 23% of the participants but 50% reported encouraging their athletes to use imagery and 86% believed the skill enhances their duties. Internal consistencies of the five image content subscales ranged from .83 to .68 and inter-scale correlations ranged from .72 to .76. ATs reported using MG-Mastery most frequently followed by CS-Skills CG-Strategies MG-Arousal and MS-Goals. Independent t-tests indicated MG-Goals was used more by students than certified ATs, t(91)=2.04, p<.05, and by non-practicing ATs than those who practiced, t(91)=-4.01, p<.001. Participants from curriculum programs reported more use of MG-Arousal than those from internship programs, t(91)=2.23, p=.05 and there was no gender variation across subscales. A trend of significant, negative correlations between education and the three motivation functions of imagery indicated the more educated ATs used imagery less for controlling emotions, mastering skills and setting goals. However, overall, the most frequently cited reason for using individual images was for confidence, followed by anxiety, goals, and skills and strategies. The majority of images were perceived to help job performance while one CG-Strategies and 4/5 MG-Arousal items were perceived as harmful to performance. Enhancing AT curricula with systematic training in psychological skills would enhance AT performance and disseminate information to clients.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2011 · Journal of Imagery Research in Sport and Physical Activity
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    ABSTRACT: Since the pre-flight safety briefing is a key method of communicating critical information to passengers, the regulatory authorities typically encourage airlines to be as interactive as possible in delivering this material. However, many airlines utilise video or 'cartoon' presentations to deliver the briefing because of pre-departure time pressures. Even where this is not the case, it is difficult for the cabin crew to deliver the briefing in an engaging manner on every flight. An experiment funded by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau Aviation Safety Research Grants Program was conducted in the Boeing 737 cabin simulator at Cranfield University to investigate the relative utility of passive and active safety briefings delivered by the cabin crew. Four groups of up to 40 members of the public took part as 'passengers' in eight evacuations, receiving either a passive or an active safety briefing. The passive safety briefing involved verbal delivery of the material, with the cabin crew demonstrating appropriate actions where necessary. The active briefing provided the same content, but required passengers to demonstrate the relevant activities along with the cabin crew. Passenger questionnaires completed after the evacuations showed that the active safety briefings were rated as significantly more useful than the passive safety briefings. Further, passengers who received the active safety briefing reported greater confidence in evacuating the cabin, and indicated that the active briefing would be more useful in a genuine emergency situation. Considerations for implementing the findings operationally are discussed.
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