Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Research project

Topic: Movement and mental functions

Our ability to learn and control movements is essential for engaging in goal-directed behaviour. From buttoning your shirt and driving a car, to cooking dinner and brushing your teeth -- our actions in daily life rely on this ability.

Marit Ruitenberg

Description of topic

Movement control does not only involve the physical execution of movements via our muscles, but also requires various mental functions and the processing of sensory information. For instance, imagine you are carrying a birthday cake, when suddenly it slips out of your hand – most likely you will try to catch and save the cake. However, would you have been carrying a tray with cups of hot tea and coffee instead, you probably would not attempt to catch these as you could hurt yourself. This example illustrates our ability to adapt an ongoing movement to changing situational demands, such that we can engage in appropriate, goal-direct behaviour.

Our goal is to understand the interactions between movement and brain structure and function. By combining techniques from experimental psychology, neurophysiology, and cognitive neuroscience, we take on an interdisciplinary approach to work towards better understanding healthy and pathological motor functioning. Knowing how the brain produces movement in healthy individuals is necessary to effectively treat movement problems such as those resulting from healthy aging or various disorders including Parkinson's disease. We also examine how external factors like music and spatial novelty affect movement and brain structural and functional contributions.

This website uses cookies.  More information.