Brain mechanisms of motor control

The brain is the most complex information processing systems known to man and considerable neural machinery is devoted to making visuo-motor tasks such as reaching and grasping seem effortless. Drawing from research in robotics, many steps are likely to be involved while planning and executing movements. Some of these stages are decision-making or target selection, coordinate transformations, planning kinematics and dynamics, error correction and performance monitoring. While movements in robots can be
superior to naturally occurring movements in terms of speed and accuracy, they are still relatively primitive when it comes to mimicking natural behaviours that occur in unpredictable and unstructured environments.

Our lab studies the neural and computational basis of movement planning and control with an emphasis to understand the basis of flexibility and control that is the hallmark of intelligent action. From the perspective of behaviour we seek to understand the nature of computations that enable motor control; from the perspective of the brain we seek to understand the contribution of circumscribed neural circuits to motor behaviour; and by recording the electrical activity of neurons and muscles we seek to understand how such computational processes are implemented by the brain.

Our research interests span the fields of visual perception, decision-making, and the generation of motor behaviour and involve the application of cognitive/psychophysical, neuropsychological and ectrophysiological techniques in human and non-human primates. We anticipate that in the long term this work will be useful to understand the basis of different motor disorders and develop brain machine interface systems that are only beginning to be exploited as engineering and brain sciences are starting to increasingly interface.

 

PI : Prof.Aditya Murthy (Webpage)