A theoretical explanation of how imagery improves athletic performance. It assumes that the mental image created by the subject is stored in the long-term memory of the brain as an organized set of stimulus propositions linked to response propositions. Stimulus propositions describe the stimulus content of the image (e.g. the feel of the ball, the sound of the crowd when imagining taking a basketball shot). Response propositions describe the response to the stimuli in the imagined situation (e.g., the muscle tensions when making a shot and the exhilarating feeling when the ball goes through the net). It is suggested that performance can be enhanced by repeatedly recalling response propositions for a particular stimulus situation and modifying these responses to represent perfect control and execution of a skill. When a perfect response can be imagined, repeating the imagery is thought to strengthen the links between the stimulus propositions and response.
Subjects: Sports and Exercise Medicine.