We study basic questions of human motor cognition at the behavioral and system neuroscience levels. Specific lines of research include: Motor skill learning, intentions and voluntary movements, how voluntary actions modulate perception, and self/other recognition from action consequences.
What are the principles (and neural mechanisms) underlying efficient learning of motor skills? What is the optimal sensory information relevant for learning? What training schedule yields optimal performance gains? How does the nervous system represent goals and sensory consequences of actions? how does it translate these goals into specific motor acts? What are the principles that determine which action to select over the others? What determines the timing of voluntary movements and what are the principles that govern its inhibition under different circumstances? We continually learn the contingencies between actions and their sensory consequences and modify our behavior to increase our ecological fitness in an appropriate manner. How are these contingencies learned and represented in the nervous system? How does our brain determine the causal link between our own actions and their consequences to correctly attribute agency (‘I did that’)? What is the role of the motor system in such recognition processes?
To address these and related questions we combine cutting edge technology with advanced neuroimaging and electrophysiological techniques. Insights obtained from healthy subjects are applied to clinical studies with patient populations with motor deficits (such as stroke). People in the lab have diverse backgrounds including electrical engineering, biology, psychology, computer science, and physics. This diversity allows us to address experimental questions at multiple levels in an interdisciplinary manner – from the cognitive, to the neural, computational, and methodological levels.