Retention of the spacing effect with mental practice in hemiparetic stroke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


External Institution(s)

  • Ohio State University


Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2841-2847
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number10
StatusPublished - Oct 1 2016


Mental practice (MP) is a promising adjuvant to physical practice that involves many of the same mechanisms and takes on many of the same properties as physical practice. This study compared efficacy of a “massed” MP regimen versus a “distributed” MP regimen on upper extremity (UE) motor impairment and functional limitation. Twenty-seven chronic stroke survivors were administered the UE section of the Fugl-Meyer (FM) and Action Research Arm Test (ARAT), followed by standardized physical practice and MP regimens. One group was administered “massed” MP (60 min of MP during a single daily session) and a second group administered distributed MP (20 min of MP occurring three times/day). After intervention, changes in FM and ARAT scores of subjects in the distributed condition were significantly higher than those of subjects in the massed condition (FM 3.65, 95 % CI 0.82–6.49, p value = 0.01; ARAT 3.95, 95 % CI 1.24–6.67, p value = 0.006). Likewise, at POST 3, subjects in the distributed group showed significantly higher change in ARAT scores (ARAT 4.90, 95 % CI 0.57–9.22, p value = 0.03); the change in FM scores at POST 3 was 3.18 points higher among subjects in the distributed condition, but only approached significance (95 % CI −1.27 to 7.63, p value = 0.15). Results suggest that a distributed MP schedule is more efficacious in bringing about paretic UE changes than a massed practice schedule, especially in terms of reducing UE functional limitation.

    Research areas

  • Mental practice, Motor imagery, Plasticity, Rehabilitation, Spacing effect, Stroke

Citation formats


Page, S. J., Hade, E. M., & Pang, J. (2016). Retention of the spacing effect with mental practice in hemiparetic stroke. Experimental Brain Research, 234(10), 2841-2847.


Page, SJ, Hade, EM & Pang, J 2016, 'Retention of the spacing effect with mental practice in hemiparetic stroke', Experimental Brain Research, vol. 234, no. 10, pp. 2841-2847.