What appears to be an effortless movement is in fact the final product of a series of complex processes that rely on the integration of sensory information with motor commands.
Work at the Neural Control of Movement Laboratory focuses on the hand as a model to investigate the mechanisms underlying sensorimotor integration responsible for motor learning and control. The questions addressed by our work include the role of vision and tactile input for learning and controlling object manipulation, neural mechanisms underlying the synergistic control of multiple hand muscles, and the effect of neurological disorders and neuropathies on hand control. We use a number of complementary experimental and analytical approaches ranging from measuring the electrical activity of muscles (EMG) and electrotactile stimulation to recording digit motion and forces associated with object manipulation.
Lukos, Ansuini and Santello (2008). Anticipatory control of grasping: independence of sensorimotor memories for kinematics and kinetics. Journal of Neuroscience 28: 12765-12774
Winges, Kornatz and Santello (2008). Common input to motor units of intrinsic and extrinsic hand muscles during two-digit object hold. Journal of Neurophysiology 99:1119-1126.
Lukos, Ansuini and Santello (2007). Choice of contact points during multi-digit grasping. Effect of predictability of center of mass location. Journal of Neuroscience 96: 3894-3903.
Bobich, Warren, Sweeney, Helms Tillery and Santello (2007). Spatial localization of electrotactile stimuli on the fingertip in humans. Somatosensory and Motor Research 24:179-188