School of Psychology - Directory - People - Samuel Sparks

Samuel Sparks
  – PhD Candidate, Research Assistant & Tutor

Picture of 'Samuel Sparks'
Samuel Sparks
I joined the UQ Perception and Action Lab for an undergraduate research scholarship in 2010, and I am now working on a PhD there under the supervision of Dr Ada Kritikos and Professor Virginia Slaughter. My main interests are object ownership, action observation, and most recently, the interplay of cultural experience and cognition. For more about my research, see my page on the PandA lab website. My up-to-date publication list is available on my ResearchGate profile, along with slides and poster PDFs for conference presentations whenever possible.
Office: Postgraduate Offices on Level 6 of Gordon Greenwood Building. Lab - Rooms 420 & 420b, McElwain Building.
+61 421 192 379
+617 3365 4466
Postal Address:

School of Psychology, McElwain Building, University of Queensland, Qld, 4072

Facebook ResearchGate
Picture of 'Samuel Sparks'
Samuel Sparks
Research Activities:

Object Ownership and the Self – PhD Theme

My PhD project investigates ownership-related cognition and behaviour. I am interested in how ownership over objects influences, and is influenced by, perception, attention, memory, and affect. In particular, I focus on how cultural experience and self-representation interact with ownership within these systems.

In addition to my supervisors, I collaborate with Dr Andrew Bayliss from UEA on this project.

Action Observation, Motor Priming & Automatic Imitation

Starting with my first project in the lab as an undergraduate, I have investigated factors that contribute to and constrain motor priming and motor contagion, including attention, social context, attributions of animacy and intentionality, and individual differences in cognitive and affective empathy. I am interested in what these factors and constraints inform us about the extent to which motor priming is a form of automatic imitation.

In this stream of research, I have worked with PandA Lab alumni Tegan Schulz and Rebecca Scott, and current lab members Maxwell Williams and Morgan Sidari.

Embodied Ownership in Children

During 2013 I worked with as a research assistant with Dr Kritikos, Prof. Slaughter, Dr Andrew Bayliss, and Associate Professor Kate Sofronoff on the ARC Discovery Project, “Yours and mine: Development of the concept of ownership in typical children and those on the autism spectrum.” This project is a collaboration between the UQ Early Cognitive Development Centre, Dr Bayliss, and UQ PandA Lab to investigate the development of ownership representations and behaviours. In particular, it focuses on embodiment of ownership and ownership representation in children on the autism spectrum. In 2014, we set up a new laboratory with a Qualisys Oqus motion capture camera system and developed and piloted a paradigm for children 18 months and older. After handing over this role to Jessica Lister in 2014 to focus on my PhD, I have continued to collaborate with the team on this project.

Representative Publications:

See my ResearchGate profile:

Course Tutor:
  • Semester 1, 2017
    PSYC2020 - Neuroscience for Psychologists
  • Semester 2, 2017
    PSYC2020 - Neuroscience for Psychologists
  • Semester 2, 2017
    PSYC2020 - Neuroscience for Psychologists
  • Semester 1, 2016
    PSYC2020 - Neuroscience for Psychologists
  • Semester 2, 2016
    PSYC2020 - Neuroscience for Psychologists
  • Semester 1, 2015
    PSYC2020 - Neuroscience for Psychologists
  • Semester 2, 2015
    PSYC2020 - Neuroscience for Psychologists
  • Semester 1, 2014
    PSYC2020 - Neuroscience for Psychologists
  • Semester 2, 2014
    PSYC2020 - Neuroscience for Psychologists
  • Semester 1, 2013
    PSYC1020 - Introduction to Psychology: Physiological and Cognitive Psychology
  • Semester 2, 2013
    PSYC2020 - Neuroscience for Psychologists

Note: Coordinator roles prior to 2009 and tutor roles prior to 2006 are not included.

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