Effects of Physical and Mental Practice on Motor Learning in Individuals with Cerebral Palsy

  • Mohammad Reza Sharif
  • Rasool Hemayattalab
  • Mansour Sayyah
  • Abdollah Hemayattalab
  • Sedigheh Bazazan


In this study we investigated the effects of physical and mental practice in acquisition, retention, and transfer of a motor skill in individuals with cerebral palsy (CP). For this reason, 29 males diagnosed with CP type I (18.51 ± 5.03 years of age) were chosen and, according to a pretest, were assigned to three homogenous groups; physical practice (n = 10), mental practice (n = 10), and control (n = 9). The experimental groups practiced for 5 sessions (6 blocks of 5 trials in each session). The acquisition test was run immediately at the end of each practice session and the retention and transfer tests were run approximately 48 h following the acquisition phase. Analyses of variance with repeated measures and post hoc tests suggest individuals with CP have the ability to acquire and retain a new motor skill with either physical or mental practice. This finding replicates studies involving typically developing individuals and extends previous research by demonstrating the benefits of mental practice for people with CP. Implications for clinical practice and directions for future research are discussed.


Physical practice Mental practice Motor learning Cerebral palsy Throwing dart 



The authors thank the students with cerebral palsy who participated in this study and their parents.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammad Reza Sharif
    • 1
  • Rasool Hemayattalab
    • 2
  • Mansour Sayyah
    • 3
  • Abdollah Hemayattalab
    • 4
  • Sedigheh Bazazan
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsKashan University of Medical SciencesKashanIran
  2. 2.Faculty of Physical Education and Sport SciencesUniversity of TehranTehranIran
  3. 3.Trauma Research CenterKashan University of Medical SciencesKashanIran
  4. 4.Faculty of Physical Education and Sport SciencesUniversity of UrmiaUrmiaIran
  5. 5.University of KhatamTehranIran

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