Professor Aidan Moran is the inaugural Editor-in-Chief of the International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology. He leads a team involved in researching cognition in action, has written/co-authored fifteen books and has advised professional athletes, including golfer Padraig Harrington and the Irish rugby team and is a former psychologist to the Irish Olympic Squad.
One of our most remarkable cognitive capacities is imagination or the ability to simulate sensations, actions and other types of experience. For over a century, psychologists have explored imagination in action by studying "mental practice" or people's use of mental imagery to rehearse skills symbolically, without actually engaging in the physical movements involved. A key finding from this research is that mental practice can enhance the learning and performance of both cognitive and motor skills. Based on this discovery, most of the world's leading athletes now use mental imagery techniques to prepare for, and to improve their performance in, competitive sports situations. But what actually is mental practice? How does it work? And how can we make it work better for us in everyday life? The purpose of this lecture is to answer these and other relevant questions drawing on the theory and practice of using one's imagination to improve one’s performance in fields ranging from sport to medical surgery.
For those soccer fans amongst you, the matches that evening are Denmark vs. Poland at 5.00pm and Holland vs. Germany at 7.45pm. Aidan will of course, be far more interesting!