Motor imagery in stroke patients: A descriptive review on a multidimensional ability

Simona Santoro, Viviana Lo Buono, Francesco Corallo, Emanuele Cartella, Katia Micchia, Rosanna Palmeri, Francesca Antonia Arcadi, Alessia Bramantia, Silvia Marino

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose/aim: Motor imagery (MI) is the mental representation of a movement without engaging its actual execution. MI shares neuroanatomical correlates with brain motor networks. Neurologic disorders affecting motor skills, such as stroke, have been related to impairments in MI. A descriptive review was conducted to explore the effects of stroke on MI ability and its background mechanisms. Materials and Methods: We searched on PubMed and Web of Science databases and screening references of included studies and review articles for additional citations. Results: On a total of 885 studies, only 15 articles met inclusion criteria. Results suggested that MI is impaired after stroke, in implicit and explicit abilities. Impairments in mental chronometry as well as in accuracy and reaction times were observed. Conclusions: Neuroimaging findings confirmed a brain reorganization after a stroke and a compensatory over-usage of contralesional hemisphere was highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)821-832
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Motor imagery
  • Neuroimaging
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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