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A behavioural examination of the properties of the action observation system

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posted on 2022-03-29, 02:46 authored by Usha Sivaranjani Sista
The aim of this doctoral work is to examine the proposed properties of the Action Observation System (AOS) using the behavioural paradigm of movement interference effect. A review of the research literature of the AOS shows that it is primarily proposed to be:1. AUTOMATIC, 2. UNMEDIATED, and 3. SPECIFIC. I examine the above properties by designing experiments that can systematically test each of the properties. I also develop a measure of motor interference more sensitive than variance or standard deviation which have been more commonly used thus far. This thesis consists of six chapters, three of which present behavioural data, a general introduction (CHAPTER 01) and a general discussion (CHAPTER 06). Chapter 02 provides a theoretical framework of the proposed properties of the AOS based on research literature with a particular focus on motor interference. CHAPTER 03 presents behavioural data from an experiment that attempted to replicate the findings of Kilner et al. (2007). CHAPTER 04 presents behavioural data from a set of two related experiments that, i) developed a more sensitive measure of motor interference and ii) examined the effects of observing “Dot” and “Video (human)” stimuli on motor interference when diagonal movements are observed and executed. CHAPTER 05 presents the findings from an experiment that examined the effect of observational viewpoint on the AOS and measured the effect via motor interference. CHAPTER 06 re-examines the properties of the AOS based on the results of the experiments described in Chapters 03, 04 and 05, as well as based on other existing literature. I conclude with an appendix on how action might be represented in the AOS.


Table of Contents

Chapter 01. Introduction -- Chapter 02. The properties of the Action Observation System - a theoretical framework -- Chapter 03. Experiment 3.1 - a replication study -- Chapter 04. Developing a sensitive measure of motor interference and the role of observed effector on motor interference -- Chapter 05. Effect of observational viewpoint on the Action Observation System -- Chapter 06. General discussion -- Appendix - Action representation in the fronto-parietal Action Observation Network.


Bibliography: final [18] pages "Date of submission: 12 April 2014".

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders, Department of Cognitive Science

Department, Centre or School

Department of Cognitive Science

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Mark Williams

Additional Supervisor 1

Jason Friedman

Additional Supervisor 2

Anina Rich


Copyright Usha Sivaranjani Sista 2014. Copyright disclaimer: Copyright disclaimer:




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