Current Projects

The effect of stimulus-response mapping on reach performance

Previous work of the lab has investigated the relationship between visual attention and saccade accuracy. However, eye movements involve a very specific motor pathway. We are currently investigating the relationship between stimulus-response mapping difficulty and reaching accuracy to compare performance between eye and hand movements. In particular, we are interested in this relationship across the age span or in populations with disordered attention.

Differential parietal cortical activity during performance on a visuomotor task

Previous work has demonstrated changes in the parietal Blood Oxygen Level Dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) signal associated with changes in performance during a visual attention task. The lab is now investigating this phenomenon with motor intention as well.

Aging effects on feedback utilization during precision hand movements

People use both visual and proprioceptive feedback when performing precision hand movements. We are interested in the relative contributions of these two different sensory modalities, and attentional processes within each modality, to motor performance across the age spectrum.

Collaborator: Kevin Keenan, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Kinesiology

Role of brain maps in attention-mediated processes

We are evaluating critical evidence linking attention-related brain mechanisms to a more comprehensive and neurobiological understanding of the principles of human attention, which integrates current concepts from vision and extends them to the saccadic eye movement system with a focus on individual subject variation. In this project, we are quantifying visual and visuomotor attentional fields, and linking characteristics of these fields with behavior. A comprehensive understanding of idiosyncratic attentional processes across healthy adults will provide a solid foundation for developing targeted therapies for patients with attention deficits (e.g., stroke, Alzheimer Disease, Attentional Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).

Collaborators: Adam Greenberg, PhD, Assistant Professor, UWM Department of Psychology & Ted DeYoe, Professor of Radiology, MCW

The role of cognition on lower extremity injury risk

Often times preventative programs to minimize leg injuries in athletes focuses on areas such as strength, endurance, and balance, with only marginal success in preventing injuries. We are investigating the role of various cognitive measures on lower extremity injury risk through a variety of techniques with an eye towards tailored prevention programs to focus on specific deficits.

Collaborator: Gus Almonroeder, DPT, PhD, Assistant Professor, Trine University