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Liz Franz

Tel +64 3 479 5269

Professor Liz Franz's current research explores psychological and neural processes associated with the action system, using the techniques of MRI, DTI, fMRI, and EEG, combined with laboratory protocols. She is specifically interested in the way the brain organises complex behaviours so that goal-directed actions can occur. In her range of research experience, she has worked with over 20 different neurological disorders of the motor and/or cognitive systems.

Her laboratory has also formed five different support groups for neurological patients in New Zealand (supported by funds from Todd Foundation, Parkinson's New Zealand, Neurological Foundation, and Health Research Council), and she has formed a world-wide support group for people with mirror movements, in association with her Marsden Grant. She has taught at both undergraduate and graduate levels for about 15 years and has supervised over 30 postgraduate degrees at MSc/PhD levels. She is Director of the Cognitive Science Program at Otago (since 2004), and also directs fMRIotago (the first MRI-fMRI research programme in New Zealand (developed in 2000).

Liz joined the Department in 1997 following a PhD in Psychology at Purdue University, and NIH-funded postdoctoral fellowships in Cognitive Neuroscience at UC Berkeley. The latter included two years on a Neurosurgical pallidotomy team in which she worked closely with neurologists and neurosurgeons investigating the neural basis of Parkinson's disease.


  • PSYC 210 Principles of Psychological Research
  • PSYC 437 Cognitive Neuroscience Seminar

Research Interests

  • Psychological and neural processes associated with action planning and how higher level networks interact with lower networks, using the techniques of MRI, DTI, fMRI, and EEG, combined with laboratory protocols

Find out about Professor Franz's research interests

Selected articles relating to Bimanual Actions

  • Bimanual Action Representation
  • Action Selection in Special Populations
  • The Mirror Neuron System and Imitation

For reference details on Bimanual Actions publications


Ginieis, R., Fu, Y., Franz, E. A., & Peng, M. (2023). Contrasting frontal cortical responses to food versus money rewards across BMI groups. Nutritional Neuroscience, 2245212. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/1028415X.2023.2245212

Zhang, Y., Li, Y., Shi, Z., & Franz, E. (2022). Does acute exercise benefit emotion regulation? Electrophysiological evidence from affective ratings and implicit emotional effects on cognition. Biological Psychology, 172, 108375. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2022.108375

Miasnikova, A., & Franz, E. A. (2022). Brain dynamics in alpha and beta frequencies underlies response activation during readiness of goal-directed hand movement. Neuroscience Research, 180, 36-47. doi: 10.1016/j.neures.2022.03.004

Disbrow, E. A., Glassy, N. D., Dressler, E. M., Russo, K., Franz, E. A., Turner, R. S., … Sigvardt, K. A. (2022). Cortical oscillatory dysfunction in Parkinson disease during movement activation and inhibition. PLoS ONE, 17(3), e0257711. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0257711

Dovenberg, E., Franz, L., & Miyahara, M. (2021). Experiences of autistic secondary schools participating in a weekly sports programme: A proposed study. Proceedings of the University of Otago Student Research Symposium: Te Wānaka Rakahau: Ākoka. (pp. 25). [Abstract]

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