How do healthy individuals adapt to reversed vision generated when using mirror specs? An investigation into mirror devices, adaptation to body schema and imagery ability in healthy participants
Walker, Joanna Louise
Introduction: This study investigates a new form of Mirror Therapy (MT), the Mirror Specs. Evidence suggests that MT is a non-invasive, cost effective method of reducing pain and increasing functioning in some chronic pain conditions. There is no clear explanation for the underlying mechanisms of MT, however, a plausible hypothesis suggests that adaptation to the Body Schema is an integral component. Aims and Hypotheses: The current study examined Body Schema adaptation in healthy participants when performing a Finger Tapping Task with both Mirror Specs and a Mirror Box. It was hypothesised that adaptation would be indicated by increases in Reaction Times (RTs) and Error Rates when comparing unimanual phases of a Finger Tapping Task, following a bimanual „adaptation‟ phase. It was hypothesised that there would be no difference between participants‟ ability to adapt to each device. Finally, the study proposed that there would be a relationship between the adaptation observed on the Finger Tapping Task and participants individual imagery abilities. Method: Participants performed 4 phases of a Finger Tapping Task with alternate bimanual and unimanual phases when using both the Mirror Specs and Mirror Box. Imagery abilities were measured using self-report questionnaires and a Motor Imagery computer task. Results and Discussion: Repeated Measures ANOVAs revealed reductions in RTs and Error Rates in Phase 3 compared to Phase 1 on the Finger Tapping Task. There were no differences between RTs and Error Rates when using the Mirror Specs and Mirror Box. These findings suggest that healthy participants were able to use each Mirror Device effectively and this provide impetus for the proposal that Mirror Specs could provide a practical, cost effective addition to rehabilitation services. Finally, there were no clinically significant relationships between use of the Mirror Devices and imagery abilities, thereby indicating imagery abilities did not influence how participants adapted to using the Mirror Devices.