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Motor imagery ability assessments in four disciplines: protocol for a systematic review
  1. Zorica Suica1,
  2. Petra Platteau-Waldmeier2,
  3. Szabina Koppel1,
  4. Arno Schmidt-Trucksaess3,
  5. Thierry Ettlin1,
  6. Corina Schuster-Amft1,3,4
  1. 1 Research Department, Reha Rheinfelden, Rheinfelden, Switzerland
  2. 2 School of Health Professions, Institute of Physiotherapy, Zurich University for Applied Sciences, Winterthur, Switzerland
  3. 3 Department for Sport, Exercise and Health, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  4. 4 Institute for Rehabilitation and Performance Technology, Bern University of Applied Sciences, Burgdorf, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Corina Schuster-Amft; c.schuster{at}


Introduction Motor imagery (MI) is a very popular and well-accepted technique in different disciplines. Originating from sport and psychology, MI is now also used in the field of medicine and education. Several studies confirmed the benefits of MI to facilitate motor learning and skill acquisition. The findings indicated that individual’s MI ability might influence the effectiveness of MI interventions. Over the last two centuries, researchers have developed several assessments to evaluate MI’s abstract construct. However, no systematic reviews (SR) exist for MI ability evaluation methods and their measurement properties.

Methods and analysis The SR will evaluate available MI ability assessments and their psychometric properties in four relevant disciplines: sports, psychology, medicine and education. This involves performing searches in SPORTDiscus, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library, Scopus, Web of Science and ERIC. Working independently, two reviewers will screen articles for selection. Then all raw information will be compiled in an overview table—including the articles’ characteristics (eg, a study’s setting or the population demographics) and the MI ability assessment (psychometric properties). To evaluate the articles’ methodological quality, we will use the COSMIN checklist. Then we will evaluate all the included assessments’ quality and perform a best-evidence synthesis. Results of this review will be reported following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines.

Ethics and dissemination The SR is based on published data, and ethical approval is not required. This review will provide information on assessment performance and equipment, as well as its main focus and usefulness. Furthermore, we will present the methodological quality of all the included articles and assess the included instruments’ quality. Ultimately, this will act as a valuable resource, providing an overview of MI ability assessments for individual clinical settings, treatment aims, and various populations. The SR’s final report will be published in a peer-reviewed journal and presented at relevant conferences.

PROSPERO registration number CRD42017077004

  • motor imagery ability
  • assessment
  • psychometric properties
  • validity
  • reliability
  • responsiveness

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  • Contributors ZS, PP-W, SK, AS-T, TE and CS-A contributed to the conception and the design of the protocol of the systematic literature review. All contributed important intellectual content, revised the protocol critically and agreed to publish the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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