Task-Specificity of Muscular Responses During Motor Imagery: Peripheral Physiological Effects and the Legacy of Edmund Jacobson
Motor imagery has become a key issue in cognitive neuroscience and particularly in fMRI research. However, peripheral physiological effects of motor imagery were already being studied a century ago with some research hypotheses even tracing back to Washburn (1916). This review focuses on research by Edmund Jacobson in the early 1930s. Jacobsen ... demonstrated that peripheral physiological effects rely on task-specific instructions: Bending the right arm elicits muscular responses in the right biceps, but not in the muscles of other limbs. This review discusses how Jacobsen examined this issue in a series of studies. This scientific spadework is worth recalling here because of its methodological innovations and its forward-looking discussion that even today, continues to be relevant for prospective research on this topic.