EEG Topographic Mapping of Visual and Kinesthetic Imagery in Swimmers

V. E. Wilson, Z. Dikman, E. I. Bird, J. M. Williams, R. Harmison, L. Shaw-Thornton, G. E. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This study investigated differences in QEEG measures between kinesthetic and visual imagery of a 100-m swim in 36 elite competitive swimmers. Background information and post-trial checks controlled for the modality of imagery, swimming skill level, preferred imagery style, intensity of image and task equality. Measures of EEG relative magnitude in theta, low (7–9 Hz) and high alpha (8–10 Hz), and low and high beta were taken from 19 scalp sites during baseline, visual, and kinesthetic imagery. QEEG magnitudes in the low alpha band during the visual and kinesthetic conditions were attenuated from baseline in low band alpha but no changes were seen in any other bands. Swimmers produced more low alpha EEG magnitude during visual versus kinesthetic imagery. This was interpreted as the swimmers having a greater efficiency at producing visual imagery. Participants who reported a strong intensity versus a weaker feeling of the image (kinesthetic) had less low alpha magnitude, i.e., there was use of more cortical resources, but not for the visual condition. These data suggest that low band (7–9 Hz) alpha distinguishes imagery modalities from baseline, visual imagery requires less cortical resources than kinesthetic imagery, and that intense feelings of swimming requires more brain activity than less intense feelings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-127
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Psychophysiology Biofeedback
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Alpha
  • EEG
  • Imagery
  • Kinesthetic
  • Visual

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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