Hey Sally, have you read the article by Yuanyuan Lyu, Xia Oli Guo, Robin Bekrater-Bodmann, Herta Flor and Shanbao Tong?
Yeah, the article is called "Phantom Limb Perception Interferes with Motor Imagery After unilateral Upper-Limb Amputation"!
Researchers have mainly focused on motor imagery after an amputation take place and the evidence and conclusions of whether the capability for motor imagery in amputees is impaired is still inconsistent.
The nature of the relationship between motor imagery is still unknown, but some previous research but previous research by Nico et al. speculated that the change in body schema produced by the amputation and the phantom limb might be a possible cause of increased difficulty in motor imagery.
Motor imagery is a cognitive process when an individual imagines that they are preforming a movement without actually doing the movement!
Previous research has shown that body schema does influence motor imagery. In previous research a hand mental rotation task was used that involved motor imagery and mental simulations of movement with their own hand
The current study uses comparison with upper-limb amputees with/without phantom limb by using a hand mental rotation task to investigate phantom limb perception on motor imagery.
In the study 21 amputees recognized a phantom limb in their life. 15 recorded having a strong phantom limb perception in the task, 6 did not recognize a phantom limb in the task, but 3 who did not report recognizing a phantom limb did report having the phantom limb during the task but did not feel it within the last year.
27 right sided upper limb upper limb amputees and 27 non-amputees participated. All participants were right handed. They were divided into 2 groups; a phantom task and a non-phantom task.
The participants were seated in front of a computer with their hands folded in their lap, the amputees were wearing prosthetics. Images of the back of a left or right hand were randomly displayed on the screen. The participants were asked to imagine rotating their hand to match the image shown on the screen and decide whether the hand was a left or right hand by hitting a foot pedal.
The participants were asked to not move their hands at all. Each experiment had 4 parts and after 1 training part. There was 3-5 minute break in between each session. In each session there were 96 trials.