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Professor Liz Franz

Liz FranzProfessor Liz Franz’s research explores the psychological and neural processes associated with the action system, using scanning techniques such as MRI and fMRI, DTI, and EEG combined with laboratory protocols. Specifically, she is interested in the way the brain organises complex behaviours so that goal-directed actions can occur. Her laboratory has worked with over 20 different neurological disorders and has formed five different support groups in New Zealand with support from the Todd Foundation, Parkinson’s New Zealand, the Neurological Foundation and the Health Research Council. In association with a Marsden Grant, she has also formed an international support group for people with mirror movements. She is Director of the Cognitive Science Program at Otago and also directs fMRIOtago, the first MRI-fMRI research programme in New Zealand.

Liz came to Otago following a PhD in Psychology at Purdue University. She worked for two years on a neurosurgical pallidotomy team investigating the neural basis of Parkinson’s disease during her NIH-funded postdoctoral fellowships in Cognitive Neuroscience at UC Berkeley.

The Franz laboratory is investigating an action selection model where the basal ganglia and frontal-striatal circuitry play a critical role in what actions get selected and what actions get inhibited. Her neurological patient populations include people with Parkinson’s disease, autism, congenital disorders like mirror movements, stroke and other conditions that affect the action system.

Using the techniques of FMRI, EEG, kinematic analysis, behavioural variables, TMS and gesture analysis, her research addresses questions such as: How and why do we perform a particular action at a specific time? Why not do something else? What are the influences on that choice of action? Did we consciously choose? She views bimanual actions as a window into the workings of the brain and has suggested that bimanual actions tell us about uniquely-human skills and capabilities.

Find out more about Professor Franz’s research.

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Publications

Ginieis, R., Franz, E. A., Oey, I., & Peng, M. (2018). The “sweet” effect: Comparative assessments of dietary sugars on cognitive performance. Physiology & Behavior, 184, 242-247. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2017.12.010

Fielding, A., Fu, Y., & Franz, E. A. (2018). The brain's reward response occurs even without actual reward! Journal of Gambling Studies, 34(2), 449-463. doi: 10.1007/s10899-017-9721-3

Hammond-Tooke, G. D., Tallabs Grajeda, F., Macrorie, H., & Franz, E. A. (2018). Response inhibition in patients with functional neurological symptom disorder. Journal of Clinical Neuroscience. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2018.08.005

Franz, E. A., & Fu, Y. (2018). Reply to “Movement-related neural processing in people with congenital mirror movements beyond the (cortical) surface”. Clinical Neurophysiology, 129(3), 709-710. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2017.12.036

Méneret, A., Franz, E. A., Trouillard, O., Oliver, T. C., Zagar, Y., Robertson, S. P., … Gardner, R. J. M., … Jasoni, C. L., … Markie, D. (2017). Mutations in the netrin-1 gene cause congenital mirror movements. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 127(11), 3923-3936. doi: 10.1172/jci95442

Chapter in Book - Research

Markošova, M., Franz, L., & Beňuškova, L. (2009). Topology of brain functional networks: Towards the role of genes. In M. Köppen, N. Kasabov & G. Coghill (Eds.), Advances in neuro-information processing: Lecture notes in computer science (Vol. 5506). (pp. 111-118). Berlin, Germany: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-02490-0_14

Franz, E. A. (2006). Converging evidence of the Basal Ganglia's role in focused action selection and inhibition of competing information. In E. Bezard (Ed.), Recent breakthroughs in Basal Ganglia research. (pp. 227-239). New York: Nova Science.

Franz, E. A. (2003). Bimanual action representation: A window on human evolution. In S. H. Johnson-Frey (Ed.), Taking action: Cognitive neuroscience perspectives on intentional acts. (pp. 259-288). London: MIT.

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Journal - Research Article

Ginieis, R., Franz, E. A., Oey, I., & Peng, M. (2018). The “sweet” effect: Comparative assessments of dietary sugars on cognitive performance. Physiology & Behavior, 184, 242-247. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2017.12.010

Hammond-Tooke, G. D., Tallabs Grajeda, F., Macrorie, H., & Franz, E. A. (2018). Response inhibition in patients with functional neurological symptom disorder. Journal of Clinical Neuroscience. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2018.08.005

Fielding, A., Fu, Y., & Franz, E. A. (2018). The brain's reward response occurs even without actual reward! Journal of Gambling Studies, 34(2), 449-463. doi: 10.1007/s10899-017-9721-3

Méneret, A., Franz, E. A., Trouillard, O., Oliver, T. C., Zagar, Y., Robertson, S. P., … Gardner, R. J. M., … Jasoni, C. L., … Markie, D. (2017). Mutations in the netrin-1 gene cause congenital mirror movements. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 127(11), 3923-3936. doi: 10.1172/jci95442

Glendining, K. A., Markie, D., Gardner, R. J. M., Franz, E. A., Robertson, S. P., & Jasoni, C. L. (2017). A novel role for the DNA repair gene Rad51 in Netrin-1 signalling. Scientific Reports, 7, 39823. doi: 10.1038/srep39823

Manan, H. A., Yusoff, A. N., Franz, E. A., & Mukari, S. Z.-M. S. (2017). Effects of aging and background babble noise on speech perception processing: An fMRI study. Neurophysiology, 49(2), 441-452. doi: 10.1007/s11062-018-9707-5

Moore, M. R., & Franz, E. A. (2017). Resting-state mu activity modulations are associated with aloofness. Personality & Individual Differences, 116, 366-371. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2017.05.026

Moore, M. R., & Franz, E. A. (2017). Mu rhythm suppression is associated with the classification of emotion in faces. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 17(1), 224-234. doi: 10.3758/s13415-016-0476-6

Franz, E. A., & Fu, Y. (2017). Pre-movement planning processes in people with congenital mirror movements. Clinical Neurophysiology, 128(10), 1985-1993. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2017.07.412

Debnath, R., & Franz, E. A. (2016). Perception of hand movement by mirror reflection evokes brain activation in the motor cortex contralateral to a non-moving hand. Cortex, 81, 118-125. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2016.04.015

Bednark, J. G., Reynolds, J. N. J., Stafford, T., Redgrave, P., & Franz, E. A. (2016). Action experience and action discovery in medicated individuals with Parkinson's disease. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 10, 427. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00427

Gillett, G., & Franz, E. (2016). Evolutionary neurology, responsive equilibrium, and the moral brain. Consciousness & Cognition, 45, 245-250. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2014.09.011

Manan, H. A., Franz, E. A., Yusoff, A. N., & Mukari, S. Z.-M. S. (2015). The effects of aging on the brain activation pattern during a speech perception task: An fMRI study. Aging Clinical & Experimental Research, 27(1), 27-36. doi: 10.1007/s40520-014-0240-0

Manan, H. A., Franz, E. A., Yusoff, A. N., & Mukari, S. Z.-M. S. (2015). Aging effects on working memory: Fronto-parietal network involvement on tasks involving speech stimuli. Neurology, Psychiatry & Brain Research, 21(1), 64-72. doi: 10.1016/j.npbr.2014.09.001

Franz, E. A., Chiaroni-Clarke, R., Woodrow, S., Glendining, K. A., Jasoni, C. L., Robertson, S. P., Gardner, R. J. M., & Markie, D. (2015). Congenital mirror movements: Phenotypes associated with DCC and RAD51 mutations. Journal of the Neurological Sciences, 351(1-2), 140-145. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2015.03.006

Manan, H. A., Franz, E. A., Yusoff, A. N., & Mukari, S. Z.-M. S. (2014). Age-related brain activation during forward and backward verbal memory tasks. Neurology, Psychiatry & Brain Research, 20(4), 76-86. doi: 10.1016/j.npbr.2014.08.001

Gong, X., Fu, Y., Wang, D., Franz, E., & Long, Z. (2014). Remoteness modulates the effects of emotional valence on the neural network of autobiographical memory in older females. International Journal of Aging & Human Development, 79(1), 23-54. doi: 10.2190/AG.79.1.b

Bednark, J. G., & Franz, E. A. (2014). Agency attribution: Event-related potentials and outcome monitoring. Experimental Brain Research, 232(4), 1117-1126. doi: 10.1007/s00221-014-3821-4

Woods, A. M., Nowostawski, M., Franz, E. A., & Purvis, M. (2014). Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor classification on mobile device. Pervasive & Mobile Computing, 13, 1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.pmcj.2013.10.002

Yusoff, A. N., Manan, H. A., Mukari, S. Z.-M. S., Hamid, K. A., & Franz, E. A. (2014). Brain activation and psychophysiologic interaction in association with a phonological working memory task. Modern Applied Science, 8(5), 97-114. doi: 10.5539/mas.v8n5p97

Fu, Y., & Franz, E. A. (2014). Viewer perspective in the mirroring of actions. Experimental Brain Research, 232(11), 3665-3674. doi: 10.1007/s00221-014-4042-6

Fisher, S. D., Gray, J. P., Black, M. J., Davies, J. R., Bednark, J. G., Redgrave, P., Franz, E. A., Abraham, W. C., & Reynolds, J. N. J. (2014). A behavioral task for investigating action discovery, selection and switching: Comparison between types of reinforcer. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 8, 398. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00398

Regenbrecht, H., Hoermann, S., Ott, C., Müller, L., & Franz, E. (2014). Manipulating the experience of reality for rehabilitation applications. Proceedings of the IEEE, 102(2), 170-184. doi: 10.1109/jproc.2013.2294178

McCarthy, P., Benuskova, L., & Franz, E. A. (2014). The age-related posterior-anterior shift as revealed by voxelwise analysis of functional brain networks. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 6, 301. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2014.00301

Manan, H. A., Yusoff, A. N., Franz, E. A., & Mukari, S. Z.-M. S. (2013). The effects of background noise on brain activity using speech stimuli on healthy young adults. Neurology, Psychiatry & Brain Research, 19(4), 207-215. doi: 10.1016/j.npbr.2013.09.002

Bednark, J. G., Reynolds, J. N. J., Stafford, T., Redgrave, P., & Franz, E. A. (2013). Creating a movement heuristic for voluntary action: Electrophysiological correlates of movement-outcome learning. Cortex, 49(3), 771-780. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2011.12.005

Manan, H. A., Franz, E. A., Yusoff, A. N., & Mukari, S. Z.-M. S. (2013). Age-related laterality shifts in auditory and attention networks with normal ageing: Effects on a working memory task. Neurology, Psychiatry & Brain Research, 19(4), 180-191. doi: 10.1016/j.npbr.2013.09.001

Disbrow, E. A., Sigvardt, K. A., Franz, E. A., Turner, R. S., Russo, K. A., Hinkley, L. B., … Malhado-Chang, N. (2013). Movement activation and inhibition in Parkinson's disease: A functional imaging study. Journal of Parkinson's Disease, 3(2), 181-192. doi: 10.3233/jpd-130181

Lucas, S. J. E., Ainslie, P. N., Murrell, C. J., Thomas, K. N., Franz, E. A., & Cotter, J. D. (2012). Effect of age on exercise-induced alterations in cognitive executive function: Relationship to cerebral perfusion. Experimental Gerontology, 47(8), 541-551. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2011.12.002

Manan, H. A., Franz, E. A., Yusoff, A. N., & Mukari, S. Z.-M. S. (2012). Hippocampal-cerebellar involvement in enhancement of performance in word-based BRT with the presence of background noise: An initial fMRI study. Psychology & Neuroscience, 5(2), 247-256. doi: 10.3922/ j.psns.2012.2.16

Hoermann, S., Franz, E. A., & Regenbrecht, H. (2012). Referred sensations elicited by video-mediated mirroring of hands. PLoS ONE, 7(12), e50942. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0050942

Regenbrecht, H. T., Franz, E. A., McGregor, G., Dixon, B. G., & Hoermann, S. (2012). Beyond the looking glass: Fooling the brain with the augmented mirror box. Presence [2011], 20(6), 559-576. doi: 10.1162/PRES_a_00082

Franz, E. A. (2012). The allocation of attention to learning of goal-directed actions: A cognitive neuroscience framework focusing on the basal ganglia. Frontiers in Psychology, 3, 535. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00535

Amer, M., Hubert, G., Sullivan, S. J., Herbison, P., Franz, E. A., & Hammond-Tooke, G. D. (2012). Reliability and diagnostic characteristics of clinical tests of upper limb motor function. Journal of Clinical Neuroscience, 19(9), 1246-1251. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2011.12.007

Regenbrecht, H., Hoermann, S., McGregor, G., Dixon, B., Franz, E., Ott, C., Hale, L., … Hoermann, J. (2012). Visual manipulations for motor rehabilitation. Computers & Graphics, 36(7), 819-834. doi: 10.1016/j.cag.2012.04.012

Franz, E. A., & Miller, J. O. (2011). Are the basal ganglia critical in producing redundancy gain effects on simple sensorimotor responses? An investigation on the effects of Parkinson's disease. Neuropsychologia, 49(5), 1267-1274. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.02.011

Hughes, C. M. L., Haddad, J. M., Franz, E. A., Zelaznik, H. N., & Ryu, J. H. (2011). Physically coupling two objects in a bimanual task alters kinematics but not end-state comfort. Experimental Brain Research, 211(2), 219-229. doi: 10.1007/s00221-011-2673-4

Franz, E. A., & Gillett, G. (2011). John Hughlings Jackson's evolutionary neurology: A unifying framework for cognitive neuroscience. Brain, 134, 3114-3120. doi: 10.1093/brain/awr218

Ramakonar, H., Franz, E. A., & Lind, C. R. P. (2011). The rubber hand illusion and its application to clinical neuroscience. Journal of Clinical Neuroscience, 18(12), 1596-1601. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2011.05.008

Hammond-Tooke, G. D., Goei, J., du Plessis, L. J., & Franz, E. A. (2010). Concussion causes transient dysfunction in cortical inhibitory networks but not the corpus callosum. Journal of Clinical Neuroscience, 17(3), 315-319. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2009.06.026

Franz, E. A., & McCormick, R. (2010). Conceptual unifying constraints override sensorimotor interference during anticipatory control of bimanual actions. Experimental Brain Research, 205(2), 273-282. doi: 10.1007/s00221-010-2365-5

Wartenburger, I., Kühn, E., Sassenberg, U., Foth, M., Franz, E. A., & van der Meer, E. (2010). On the relationship between fluid intelligence, gesture production, and brain structure. Intelligence, 38(1), 193-201. doi: 10.1016/j.intell.2009.11.001

Hughes, C. M. L., Haddad, J. M., Franz, E. A., & Zelaznik, H. N. (2009). Effects of object coupling on bimanual end-state comfort: Interlimb dependency does not affect end-state comfort. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 31(Suppl.), S71-S72.

Franz, E. A., Sebastian, A., Hust, C., & Norris, T. (2008). Viewer perspective affects central bottleneck requirements in spatial translation tasks. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 34(2), 398-412.

Hughes, C. M. L., & Franz, E. A. (2008). Goal-related planning constraints in bimanual grasping and placing of objects. Experimental Brain Research, 188(4), 541-550.

Hughes, C. M. L., & Franz, E. A. (2007). Experience-dependent effects in unimanual and bimanual reaction time tasks in musicians. Journal of Motor Behavior, 39(1), 3-8.

Franz, E. A., & Fahey, S. (2007). Developmental change in interhemispheric communication: Evidence from bimanual cost. Psychological Science, 18(12), 1030-1031.

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