We study the basics of eye-hand coordination using behavioural and neurophysiological approaches. This fundamental research includes studying the neural control of complex skills and bimanual coordination in healthy individuals across the lifespan.
We apply our research to the areas of functional assessment and recovery following mild brain injury. We also apply our work to maintaining function in the face of brain processing decline from dementia.
A. Cognitive-Motor integration, or, "Thinking and Moving...at the same time!"
One of our research group's primary interests is understanding the brain networks that allow us to perform rule-based skilled movements. My group is one of few in the world to focus in-depth on cognitive-motor integration (CMI), that is, how the brain plans and executes movements when there is a complex relationship between the sensory input and motor output. Think of reaching for cup of tea (direct, NOT complex skill) versus controlling a drone using a remote control (indirect, REALLY complex skill!). We were the first research group in the world to explicitly address sex-related differences in the neural correlates that underlie the control of movement. Our research to date has shown that the ability to perform CMI can break down with age, neurotrauma, and dementia/dementia risk. We have also demonstrated that the female brain controls movements involving CMI differently from the male brain, even when task proficiency is equivalent.
B. Eye-hand coordination: Effects of age, sex, and experience on brain and behaviour
Coordinating vision and limb motion in order to interact with external objects requires a sophisticated level of control and is carried out by numerous interconnected areas of the brain. The long-term objectives of our research are to investigate the fundamental mechanisms of how the brain coordinates visually-guided reaching and to characterize differences in the neural control of movement between elite and non-elite level performers, and between females and males.