Program Overview

Cognitive and Motor Neuroscience (MS / PhD)

The Cognitive and Motor Neuroscience theme strives to advance scientific understanding of the psychological and neural mechanisms underlying skilled human behaviors. We research how these mechanisms are influenced by changes across the life-span (development and aging), changes due to practice (learning and expertise), or changes following illness and injury (rehabilitation and neurodegenerative disease).

Research Pillars

Perceptual and Cognitive Expertise

In the perceptual and cognitive expertise pillar, we investigate the role of perceptual, cognitive, and neural processes during performance and the implications of this work for training and the development of domain-specific expertise across professional domains.

Motor Learning and Control

Motor control explores how the brain and body interact in order to solve movement problems. (That is, how do I get my body from where it is to the place I want it to be?) Over time, we can refine our movements from rough and errorful to reliable and accurate. Motor learning explores the processes that underlie this improvement and the conditions of practice that facilitate the development of skill.


Following injury, or as the result of degenerative disease, our facility for even basic movements can be compromised. Within the rehabilitation pillar, our goal is to understand how anatomical, physiological, and psychological variables interact to affect recovery. In neurorehabilitation, recovery could include improved function or a return to participation in the activities of daily living. Following injury in sport, recovery could include psychological readiness to return to play or the restitution of pre-injury movement patterns.

Modeling and Advanced Analytics

In cognitive and motor neuroscience, we are often collecting complex, statistically dependent data that unfold over time. Time might be milliseconds in electroencephalography studies, seconds in locomotion and postural control, or years in rehabilitation and aging. Our team specializes in advanced statistical modeling (e.g., multi-level models) and biomechanical analysis (e.g., nonlinear dynamics) to address substantive questions in human movement science.

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