Abstract: Understanding motor imagery of the hands and feet has led to promising new treatments for neurological and chronic pain disorders. We aimed to extend this line of research to the neck with a view to developing the definitive platform study upon which clinical and experimental studies can be based. In a cross-sectional experiment with a convenience sample, volunteers were shown 40 photographs of a model with their head turned to the left or right. Images were presented in random order and orientation. Participants judged the direction of neck rotation. They also completed a left/right hand judgment task. 1361 pain-free participants volunteered. Mean ± standard deviation response time (RT) for making left/right judgments of neck rotation was 1.621 ± 0.501 s. Median accuracy was 92.5%. RT was related to age, gender, and handedness (p < 0.001). That is, RT increased with age, was greater in females than in males and was greater in left-handers than in right-handers. Accuracy reduced with age (p < 0.001), but was unaffected by gender or handedness. Judgments were more accurate when images showed a neck rotated to the right than when they showed a neck rotated to the left (p < 0.001). The magnitude of image rotation affected both response time and accuracy (p < 0.001). In general, the performance parameters established for left/right limb judgments also apply for left/right neck rotation judgments. The current work establishes the definitive normative values against which clinical and experimental groups can be compared and reveals unpredicted effects of the direction neck rotation and the orientation of the image.
Wallwork, S. B., Butler, D. S., Fulton, I., Stewart, H., Darmawan, I., & Moseley, G. L. (2013). Left/right neck rotation judgments are affected by age, gender, handedness and image rotation. Manual Therapy, 18(3), 225-230. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.math.2012.10.006