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The temporal nature of affordance: an investigation using EEG and TMS

Rowe, P. (2018). The temporal nature of affordance: an investigation using EEG and TMS. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Affordances play a part in how we prepare to handle objects. Tools and other manipulable objects are said to automatically “afford” various actions depending upon the motor repertoire of the actor. Evidence obtained through behavioural experiments, fMRI, EEG and TMS has proven that this is the case but, as yet, the temporal evolution of affordances has not been fully investigated. Determining the critical time-scale may have significance to patients with brain damage or motor disorders when attempting object manipulation. There are many other factors involved in therapy but it is worth considering that there could be an optimum period of time to view an object before the benefit of an automatic affordance is no longer available. In a series of experiments using the novel approach of positioning the participant’s dominant hand closer to or further from the object being viewed, together with use of three dimensional stimuli, and through application of behavioural assays, TMS pulses and EEG recordings, this research examined temporal properties of affordances in young healthy control subjects. Verification of this motoric activity by EEG led to investigating chronic phase stroke survivors with remaining upper limb deficits and comparing their brain activity with age-matched control participants. As EEG and TMS both have good temporal properties, they are ideal converging methodologies for this kind of investigation. By mapping how affordances develop and dissipate, this work has yielded pure scientific advances in the field of motor decision making. Further, it has resulted in suggestions for future research relating to a possible method to improve rehabilitation interventions for patients who are neurologically impaired by stroke.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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