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Professor Liz Franz

Liz Franz

Email liz.franz@otago.ac.nz
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.

Teaching

  • 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
Link to Action, Brain and Cognition Lab

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Publications

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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Journal - Research Article

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

Franz, E. A., Ford, S., & Werner, S. (2007). Brain and cognitive processes of imitation in bimanual situations: Making inferences about mirror neuron systems. Brain Research, 1145, 138-149.

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

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.

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Journal - Research Other

Franz, E. A., & Hayne, H. (2006). The preservation of academic freedom: Tenure is not enough [Commentary]. Behavioral & Brain Sciences, 29, 576-577.

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Full paper

Regenbrecht, H., McGregor, G., Ott, C., Hoermann, S., Schubert, T., Hale, L., Hoermann, J., Dixon, B., & Franz, E. (2011). Out of reach? A novel AR interface approach for motor rehabilitation. Proceedings of the 10th IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR). (pp. 219-228). doi: 10.1109/ISMAR.2011.6092389

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Bednark, J. G., Reynolds, J. N. J., Stafford, T., Redgrave, P., & Franz, E. A. (2011). Electrophysiological correlates of ideomotor learning. Psychophysiology, 48(Suppl. 1), (pp. S39). doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2011.01259.x

Scott, R. L., Hyland, B. I., Hammond-Tooke, G. D., Franz, E. A., & Anson, J. G. (2010). Neural mechanisms of impaired volitional movement in conversion disorder. Proceedings of the Society for Neuroscience 40th Annual Meeting. SfN. Retrieved from http://www.abstractsonline.com/Plan/SSResults.aspx

Scott, R. L., Hyland, B. I., Hammond-Tooke, G. D., Franz, E. A., & Anson, J. G. (2010). Feigned paresis affects behaviour but not neuromotor preparatory activity. In B. Leitch (Ed.), Proceedings of the 28th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. 28, (pp. 54). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://psy.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/Abstracts/Abstracts2010.htm

Major, M., Bednark, J., & Franz, E. A. (2010). The neural correlates of motor inhibition in autism. In B. Leitch (Ed.), Proceedings of the 28th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. 28, (pp. 55). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://psy.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/Abstracts/Abstracts2010.htm

Bednark, J. G., Franz, E. A., Stafford, T., Redgrave, P., & Reynolds, J. N. J. (2009). Tracking the learning of actions: An evaluation of the frontal P3a component. Proceedings of the Society for Neuroscience 39th Annual Meeting. SfN. Retrieved from http://www.abstractsonline.com/plan/AdvancedSearch.aspx

Scott, R. L., Hyland, B. I., Hammond-Tooke, G. D., Franz, E. A., & Anson, J. G. (2009). Conversion disorder and motor preparation: Preliminary findings. In R. Napper (Ed.), Proceedings of the 27th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. 27, (pp. 30). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://psy.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/Abstracts/Abstracts2009.htm

Lucas, S. J. E., Ainslie, P. N., Murrell, C. J., Thomas, K. N., Franz, E. A., & Cotter, J. D. (2009). Role of brain perfusion and oxygenation in exercise-induced improvements in cognition. Proceedings of the New Zealand Sports Medicine+Science Conference. (pp. 56). Dunedin, New Zealand: Sports Medicine New Zealand. [Abstract]

More publications...