The use of motor imagery is a widely used experimental paradigm for the study of cognitive aspects of action planning and control in adults. Furthermore, there are indications that motor imagery provides a window into the process of action representation. These notions complement internal model theory suggesting that such representations allow predictions (estimates) about the mapping of the self to parameters of the external world; processes that enable successful planning and execution of action. The ability to mentally represent action is important to the development of motor control. This paper presents a critical review of motor imagery research conducted with children (typically developing and special populations) with focus on its merits and possible shortcomings in studying action representation. Included in the review are age-related findings, possible brain structures involved, experimental paradigms, and recommendations for future work. The merits of this review are associated with the apparent increasing attraction for using and studying motor imagery to understand the developmental aspects of action processing in children. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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