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Dec 5 2017

Human Motor Learning

MIE Department Seminar

December 5, 2017

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM


1043 ERF


Chicago, IL 60607

Human Motor Learning

Paul Gribble, PhD.
Dept. Physiology & Pharmacology Dept. Psychology, Western University, Canada

Abstract: In my lab we study basic scientific questions about human sensory and motor systems. The goal is to increase our fundamental understanding of the organization of the nervous system. Experiments in our lab test how the brain controls voluntary movement, and how neuroplasticity in sensory and motor brain areas supports motor skill learning. The most well characterized features of motor skill learning involve changes in motor areas of the brain, and changes to descending control signals to muscles for movement. In my talk I will review recent studies in our lab that have addressed two other, less well characterized features of motor skill acquisition: (1) the neural control of limb impedance, and (2) somatosensory changes that accompany motor learning. First, I will review studies of how the neural control of limb impedance is integrated into the ongoing control of movement and how it is used in an adaptive fashion during interactions with the environment. We view impedance control as playing an active part in producing movements that differ in rate, trajectory requirements and accuracy and in maintaining stability when manipulating objects. Next, I will review studies of sensory changes that accompany motor learning. Visual and somatosensory processing are modulated in specific ways with recent motor behaviour and are further modified after motor learning. Motor learning changes not only motor behaviour, but also changes how we sense and perceive our own actions, and the world around us.

Bio: Paul grew up in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. He left in 1989 and in 1993 completed a B.Sc. in Cognitive Science at Queen's University at Kingston, Ontario, where he was supervised by Dr. Kevin Munhall and Dr. Susan Lederman for his honours thesis project. After working for Dr. Eric Vatikiotis-Bateson during the summer at ATR in Japan, he joined the motor control lab at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, working with Dr. David Ostry. Paul's graduate work focused on computational models and empirical studies of multi-joint arm movements. In 1995 he received the M.Sc. and in 1999 a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology. He went on to do postdoctoral research in the Dept. of Anatomy and Cell Biology at Queen's University with Dr. Stephen Scott. In Dr. Scott's lab Paul worked on electrophysiological studies of neural representations of motor skills in non-human primates. In 2000 Paul accepted a position as Assistant Professor, jointly appointed in the Dept. Psychology and Dept. Physiology and Pharmacology at Western University in London, Ontario. In 2006 he was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure and in 2011 to Full Professor. Paul is a Principal Investigator in The Brain and Mind Institute at Western.

Paul's research interests include the neural control of movement, motor learning, and computational models. Paul teaches courses in Scientific Computing, Statistics, and Computational Neuroscience.


Max Berniker

Date posted

Oct 14, 2021

Date updated

Oct 14, 2021