Time-varying activities can always be modeled as dynamical systems. For instance, when looking at rhythmic movements the corresponding state variables are modeled as self-sustaining oscillators. While such an oscillator in itself may already account for some complex behaviors, we particularly focus on the stability of coordination patterns, i.e. on the interactions between oscillators – think of homologous limbs for which the interaction describes the left/right crosstalk and interference. The stability of coordination may drastically change as a consequence of alterations in the strength of the coupling. This may yield involuntary, spontaneous transitions between coordination.
We study the relationship between altered inter- and intra-hemispheric structural and functional connectivities in the motor the network. Our focus is on the correlation between connectivies and declined motor performance in the elderly.
The stability of coordination can often be addressed via the relative phase between the individual limb movements. We are studying in detail the effect of different interactions between limbs, effects of noise and non-autonomous forcing.
We study how different control processes contribute to stabilizing the coordination between limbs, and how they change as a function of, e.g., movement frequency and amplitude, learning, development and pathology.
Understanding Ageing and Mobility. Funded by the EU as part of the Erasmus Mundus program, this international training network involves 40-odd PhD students studying age-related changes in human movement.
Building on research on kinematic measures and neural correlates of gait stability, we hypothesize that several distinct phases of the gait cycle require active control.
Walking on two legs is inherently unstable. Still, we humans perform remarkable well at it, mostly without falling. We measure and perturbed walking to gain more insight into the role of the central nervous system in controlling gait stability.