Can’t take my eyes off you: goal-irrelevant kinematics of observed actions prime subcomponents of motor output under perceptual load

Sparks, Samuel (2012). Can’t take my eyes off you: goal-irrelevant kinematics of observed actions prime subcomponents of motor output under perceptual load Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Sparks, Samuel
Thesis Title Can’t take my eyes off you: goal-irrelevant kinematics of observed actions prime subcomponents of motor output under perceptual load
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2012-10-09
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Ada Kritikos
Total pages 83
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary In this series of experiments I investigated motor priming, how observing a human model's action alters the observer's subsequent motor output. Specifically, I asked whether priming occurs for goal-irrelevant kinematics of observed actions, and whether it depends on attention. Experiments 1A and 1B replicated recent research showing priming of goal-unrelated kinematics in reach-to-grasp action, and extended this finding to life-size films of action. In a go/no-go task, female participants viewed a filmed female model reach toward a target and either grasp it (go trials) or overshoot a grasp behind it (no-go trials). Crucially, across go trials the model reached for the same target with either a direct trajectory or an exaggerated, higher-lifting trajectory. Despite instructions to reach directly to the target on all go trials, participants' reach trajectories lifted higher after observing exaggerated reaches compared with observing straight reaches. This result confirmed that goal-irrelevant kinematics prime the motor system and validated the use of films to elicit this effect. I adapted the paradigm in Experiment 2 to test whether goal-unrelated priming persisted under perceptual load. The perceptual load condition was designed to drain attentional resources away from processing the model’s action. Participants detected rapid colour changes of a shape during action observation. Perceptual load during action observation did not reduce trajectory priming compared with the no load control condition (i.e., no concurrent detection task), but did interfere with timing parameters in participants' reaches regardless of the observed trajectory. These results contrast with previous studies that reported no motor priming when attention was drawn away from actions during observation.
Keyword Goal-irrelevant kinematics
Observed actions
Motor priming, motor output

 
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Created: Fri, 08 Mar 2013, 11:52:33 EST by Mrs Ann Lee on behalf of School of Psychology