Sonification of combined action observation and motor imagery: Effects on corticospinal excitability

Fabio Castro, Paulina Anna Bryjka, Giovanni Di Pino, Aleksandra Vuckovic, Alexander Nowicky, Daniel Bishop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Action observation and motor imagery are valuable strategies for motor learning. Their simultaneous use (AOMI) increases neural activity, with related benefits for motor learning, compared to the two strategies alone. In this study, we explored how sonification influences AOMI. Twenty-five participants completed a practice block based on AOMI, motor imagery and physical execution of the same action. Participants were divided into two groups: An experimental group that practiced with sonification during AOMI (sAOMI), and a control group, which did not receive any extrinsic feedback. Corticospinal excitability at rest and during action observation and AOMI was assessed before and after practice, with and without sonification sound, to test the development of an audiomotor association. The practice block increased corticospinal excitability in all testing conditions, but sonification did not affect this. In addition, we found no differences in action observation and AOMI, irrespective of sonification. These results suggest that, at least for simple tasks, sonification of AOMI does not influence corticospinal excitability; In these conditions, sonification may have acted as a distractor. Future studies should further explore the relationship between task complexity, value of auditory information and action, to establish whether sAOMI is a valuable for motor learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105768
JournalBrain and Cognition
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Neurophysiology
  • Sonification
  • Motor Imagery
  • Action Observation
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation


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