The Effects of Object Ownership Status on Action

Watkinson-Aspinall, Emma Elizabeth (2017) The Effects of Object Ownership Status on Action. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Ownership, a sociocultural concept experienced at an intrapersonal level as thoughts and feelings than an object is mine; is an important feature of our daily experience. However, norms and laws define our behaviour in response to others’ belongings. Research is beginning to elucidate that the ownership status of an object, whether an object is mine or yours, influences a range of cognitive processes. Findings generally indicate that objects associated with the self receive prioritised processing, compared with objects associated with others. However, within the lesser investigated cognitive domain of action production, there is some initial evidence to suggest that we are sensitive to other’s belongings; with knowledge of self and other-ownership modulating the visuomotor system. Therefore, the present thesis aimed to extend these findings in two key ways. Firstly, on the basis of indirect evidence obtained from movement kinematics, by investigating whether ownership mediates the tendency to approach or avoid objects. Secondly, by investigating the influence of ownership status in an action context yet to be considered: during the avoidance of obstacles within the workspace.
Broadly, this thesis presents findings consistent with indirect evidence that ownership status does influence approach and avoidance behaviour; and evidence that the visuomotor system possesses some sensitivity to the ownership status of obstacles as we navigate the workspace. However, in accordance with previous work, the effects obtained, particularly in relation to other-ownership, were sensitive to task context. In addition, alternative explanations of self-ownership effects (for example, resulting from attentional mechanisms) were difficult to fully discount using indirect measures, such as response time. Therefore, while adding to the limited body of research concerning the effects of ownership on the visuomotor system; the current work highlights the need for future research concerning motoric effects to recruit more direct measures of action-related processes.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Bruce Beckett
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2018 11:18
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2018 11:18


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