Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Jeni Hagan L&S Sciences

Impact of Individual Motor System Variability on Motor Learning

Learning a motor skill takes a use of error-based learning to devise new strategies towards mastering that skill. Motor skills are perfected through attempting new solutions based on previous movement errors. The presence of motor noise, which is variability between repetitions of the same motor movement, can interfere with error learning as the previous movement error could be from incorrect planning or baseline motor noise. Past research on motor learning has found that while under certain conditions high motor noise is beneficial in learning during a motor task, it is hindering in other tasks. This investigation will expand current research on motor learning by looking at what task-specific conditions benefit an individuals learning rate due to a high initial motor noise. Understanding the contribution of inherent motor noise to learning ability can help develop individualized training models to promote motor learning in people with neurodegenerative disorders.

Message To Sponsor

Thank you to the Pergo Foundation for providing me the resources to continue my passion for research during the summer. I am very grateful for the opportunity to conduct research in a field that I am passionate about as a SURF fellow. I hope to expand my research abilities and learn more about the exciting field of motor learning through the generous support from the SURF donors and staff.
Major: Public Health
Mentor: Richard Ivry, Psychology
Sponsor: Pergo SURF fellow
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