Is it really possible that we can change our brain plasticity by merely watching some videos? This method called action observation is based on the assumption that observing actions performed by someone else activates the same structures in the brain as when actually performing them. This would not only be a great method for injured professional athletes, but also for patients that are paralyzed after suffering from a stroke. Therefore, some 2nd year Psychology Bachelor students from Maastricht University wanted to have look on whether action observation could be a sufficient method to counteract the effects of immobilization on a hand laterality task. This task is used to assess mental rotation which is a process associated with activity in the motor cortex.
Currently, we are investigating the effects of action observation by making use of short-term arm immobilisation and comparing it to the effects when someone is not immobilized. Our participants either watch a video with motor performances similar to the task they do at the beginning or just watch some nature videos. Therefore, we expect that participants in the immobilization perform worse, then those in the non-immobilization group, especially for the right-hand stimuli. Further, we hypothesized that action observation could diminish the negative effects of short-term immobilization on the hand laterality task, especially for the right hand.
If you want to know whether action observation could be an effective method to improve your motor performance either for your everyday life or for someone close to you, then follow our blog post! – Group 27