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The goal of this programme is to understand the coordination between limb movements and the environment using the concepts and tools of dynamical systems theory. We focus on the stability of behavioural patterns and how they are affected by movement parameters, e.g., accuracy, frequency, amplitude, and force, and by cognitive influences and perception. We model these observed properties and effects in terms of (stochastic) dynamical systems in order to uncover the functional and operational design of motor control systems.
An important cornerstone of the programme is research into neural activity. Neural activity is regulated on various spatial and temporal scales, whereby the brain generates excitatory and inhibitory input to other parts of the brain, the spinal cord and the muscles. An important insight is that the brain can be in numerous states at the same time (‘metastability’), so that the brain is optimally equipped to switch between various behaviours, and can thus embody maximal flexibility.Our research group is a unique collaboration of movement scientists, physicists, mathematicians, psychologists and neurophysiologists. This combined expertise is essential for integrating our research themes on motor learning and development with high societal relevance in, e.g., diagnosis and rehabilitation of neurodegenerative diseases.