Monday, Mar. 3rd, 3pm, KL 232

Being in the right place at the right time: Rhythmic entrainment and motor control

Bree Studenka
Utah State University

Almost all human actions involve interaction within a changing environment and/or with other humans. Despite given environmental uncertainty, humans are clearly able to predict and coordinate with the occurrence of future events; outfielders catch fly balls, and people dance to the music. My research aims at understanding the specific mechanisms involved with how humans anticipate future events and coordinate movements with these events. Specifically, the way we coordinate and time repetitive movements depends on how smoothly the movement is made and on what feedback is available about the movement. Furthermore, sensory information received from movement aids coordination in multiple ways, but can also be detrimental when different sensory systems convey different information (e.g., when the arms are crossed over the midline and proprioceptive information conflicts with visual information about movement). Ultimately, understanding how coordination is influenced by the mechanisms of entrainment within different environments (predictable vs. unpredictable) and within different task demands (discrete vs. smooth movement) has implication for understanding mechanisms of motor control and planning that may impact special populations such as those with Parkinson’s disease and those who stutter.