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Research

The ability to flexibly and adaptively integrate information from a variety of sources is a fundamental feature of brain function, from higher cognition to sensory and motor processing. Even a simple behavior such as reaching to a target relies on the integration of multimodal sensory signals and, moreover, exhibits rapid adaptation in response to changes in these signals. Our research uses reaching and similar goal-directed movements as a model system for understanding these abilities and their underlying neural mechanisms.

The lab employs a combination of complementary approaches:

Psychophysics: With human psychophysics (or quantitative behavioral studies), we identify behavioral phenomena that illustrate important features of sensorimotor processing. Our goal is to find phenomena that are experimentally tractable for human and animals and are amenable to theoretical/computational modeling. For example, see our work on sensory integration for reaching planning and visuomotor adaptation here.

Modeling: We use computational and theoretical models to link our understanding of brain and behavior. Two levels of modeling are used: 

Physiology: The ultimate goal of our work is to discover cortical mechanisms for sensorimotor integration and learning. Physiological studies aimed at this goal are the current primary experimental focus of the lab. Three general approaches are being used: