Effects of action observation on brain activity, function and strength

Salama, Islam Mohamed Mustafa (2011). Effects of action observation on brain activity, function and strength. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis aimed to examine whether observation of force based actions could moderate subsequent executed force and behavioural performance, and also brain activity during and following the action observation. There are six chapters, four that present empirical investigations, a general introduction (Chapter 1) and a general discussion (Chapter 6). Chapter 2 presents behavioural data that examined the effects of observing exerted force on an executed force response. The data revealed that the executed force was moderated by the condition observed so that observation of a 100% force caused increased force response compared to observation of a 50% and 0% force. Chapter 3 further examined whether bouts of observation could also moderate subsequent force and dexterity execution. Three experiments were conducted. In Experiments 1 and 2, observation of hand force based actions significantly moderated the executed hand dexterity. In Experiment 3, observation of leg force actions significantly moderated the executed leg force response. Overall, the data revealed that bouts of action force observation moderated the executed force and dexterity responses. Chapter 4 used fMRI to examine the brain activity during action force observation. The data revealed significant activity in the Superior Frontal Gyrus (SMA), part of the mirror neuron system. The finding was consistent with other findings in the literature, supporting the notion that observation of action force activates the same areas of the brain as those used for execution. To examine the relationship between action priming and brain activity, Chapter 5 again used fMRI, but to investigate resting brain activity. The data revealed significant mirror neurone system activity following action force observation compared to pre-observation and control conditions. The thesis is discussed (Chapter 6) in terms of how action observation could be used clinically for rehabilitation, and moreover, how further experimental directions could be added to these findings.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: Q Science > QP Physiology
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/3047


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