Award Abstract #1753915
Reciprocal effects of adaptation in the brain's motor and sensory systems
Division Of Behavioral and Cognitive Sci
Initial Amendment Date:February 1, 2018
Latest Amendment Date:February 1, 2018
Award Instrument:Continuing grant
Program Manager:Betty H. Tuller
BCS Division Of Behavioral and Cognitive Sci
SBE Direct For Social, Behav & Economic Scie
Start Date:May 1, 2018
End Date:April 30, 2021 (Estimated)
Awarded Amount to Date:$173,878.00
Investigator(s):Hannah Block firstname.lastname@example.org (Principal Investigator)
509 E 3RD ST
Bloomington, IN 47401-3654 (812)855-0516
NSF Program(s):PERCEPTION, ACTION & COGNITION
Program Reference Code(s):7252
Program Element Code(s):7252
This project will investigate the complex interactions between how we perceive the world around us and how we move within that world. The researchers will test how learning a new skill affects the information picked up from the world and how that information, in turn, affects motor learning. Understanding the relationship between perception and movement control is fundamental for many fields. Results could contribute to innovations in motor skill training, including rehabilitation of sensorimotor disorders after stroke and development of prostheses, as well as to ergonomics, brain-machine interfaces, robotics, and tele-operations. The project will advance the NSF's educational goals by encouraging underrepresented students to consider STEM career paths. Five undergraduates per year will be involved in all aspects of the research, including at least three women and minorities through partnerships with programs at Indiana University. The project will also support the expansion of a neuroscience summer camp developed by the study team for Indiana high school girls.
To execute a voluntary movement, such as reaching out to pick up a pencil, the brain must plan motor parameters such as movement direction and extent. Importantly, the hand's movement will not be correct unless the brain accurately perceives hand position, obtained through an integration of visual information, body position sense (proprioception), touch, etc. This "multisensory integration" is flexible and can change with learning, just like motor control, but it is not known whether or how these processes interact. The project will address this question at both the behavioral and neural levels and asks whether multisensory integration and motor control share a common sensorimotor map (a model relating motor commands to sensory consequences). A combination of psychophysics and reaching tasks will indicate whether multisensory integration and motor learning affect each other at the behavioral level. Using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), the researchers will examine whether connections between sensory and motor areas of the brain change in strength when subjects learn a new spatial relationship between vision and proprioception; this would suggest a shared sensorimotor map at the neural level. Results will inform a theoretical framework of sensorimotor control that accounts for both multisensory integration and motor learning.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.