What we do
In the UWM Visuomotor Laboratory we are interested in how the brain guides how we move, and how attention influences that process. For example, if someone wants to grab a ripe apple out of a bowl, the brain determines the visual location of the apple, and through various calculations, guides the arm to the correct location. The act of choosing an object to look at is considered visual attention. After a person visually selects the object, the next step is to move toward it. The act of choosing which path to take to get to that object is considered motor attention. We are interested in these attention mechanisms and how they relate to one another. Specifically, we are interested in a part of the brain called the parietal cortex, and how attention might be involved in the process of visually-guided movement described above.
We are currently performing behavioral and functional magnetic resonance imaging experiments to address this important issue. A better understanding of the role of parietal cortex in attention-mediated processes will ultimately help people with brain problems such as Alzheimer’s Disease or stroke.
Meet the Director
Dr. Wendy Huddleston earned her B.S. in Physical Therapy, and worked in the clinic prior to going back to get her advanced degrees. Many of her research questions are grounded in her clinical work. She obtained her M.S. in Human Kinetics from UW-Milwaukee and her PhD in Cell Biology, Neurobiology & Anatomy from the Medical College of Wisconsin. She studied at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tuebingen, Germany for her post-doctoral studies. Dr. Huddleston has been a faculty member in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at UWM since 2006.
Undergraduate and graduate students work together in the lab learning techniques including eye tracking, arm tracking, and functional magnetic resonance imaging to answer important questions about the role of attention in visually-guided movement in healthy people, and people with faulty attention systems. Learn more