Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Health Science

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Kory Zimney


Motor imagery, Body Schema, Chronic Pain, Laterality

Subject Categories

Physical Therapy | Rehabilitation and Therapy


Over 100 million US adults suffer from chronic pain, many older adults. In some cases, chronic pain has been shown to alter a person’s body schema and thus their motor imagery ability. Clinically, a measurement of left/right judgment (LRJ) has been used to measure motor imagery. Evidence suggests differences can be found in individuals’ LRJ reaction times and accuracy for those with pain compared to those without. Limited study has been done in the area of LRJ in an older population. The primary objective of this study is to explore LRJ norms for older adults. The secondary aim is to determine if there is a decline in LRJ ability with aging compared to other studies with younger adults. Participants were recruited from a cross-sectional cohort of older adults ranging in age from 55-92 years old. Demographic information of each participant was recorded before testing, including age, sex, handedness, handgrip strength, and a self-report of average cardiovascular and strength training in minutes per week. LRJ testing for hands utilizing the RecogniseTM app was used for recording accuracy and reaction time scores. Twenty-four participants completed the LRJ task (x = 80.25 years old + 8.95). The average accuracy for left and right were 66% and 67%, with reaction time scores of 2.33 seconds and 2.24 seconds, respectively. Reaction time and speed trade-off was found, r = -.483, p = .017. These results show a decline in accuracy and speed compared to younger adults.



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