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Neural mechanisms that support human motor learning and adaptation

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  • Full or part time
    Prof R.C. Miall
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Awaiting Funding Decision/Possible External Funding
    Awaiting Funding Decision/Possible External Funding

Project Description

My team are interested in understanding the neural mechanisms that support human motor learning and adaptation. Using simple movement tasks, psychophysics, and brain imaging and stimulation, we aim to determine functional, physiological or structural indices that predict individual motor ability and learning. This will guide understanding of how age and frailty influence these relationships, due to cognitive limits, sensory decline, and motor constraints.

I am interested to hear from students with ideas to work in these areas:
A. What are the relationships between multiple learning and memory processes, task variables, reward, sensory feedback and knowledge of results that determine how individuals learn, perform and adapt in motor tasks?

B. Can we understand the dynamic trade-off between skill learning and performance? How does variability across trials or tasks inform us of the changing state of motor ‘fitness’ or of changing strategies?

C. Can these interacting learning processes be localized to specific neural structures, and are their differences reflected in relationships between brain structure and motor function? In particular, we seek to understand the relationships between cerebellum, basal ganglia and cerebral cortex.

D. Can we define individual profiles that determine how these multiple processes are weighted, and explain the individual differences in learning and performance?

Funding Notes

Self-funded students may wish to apply.

There are a number of currently open competitive studentship schemes at the University of Birmingham, and students are welcome to discuss their eligibility for these with the supervisor or the PG Admissions Tutor.

Related Subjects

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 40.80

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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