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Spatial Representations and Motor Action

To investigate what kind of spatial representation the human brain computes, and how it may use them to generate motor responses, I experimentally manipulate the information available to perform a given task and measure the corresponding change in performance using behavioral experiments (psychophysics and kinematics), mathematical modeling and fMRI. Using behavioral experiments and mathematical modeling, we found that the manipulation of spatial information affects bias and variability of perceptual reports and reaching movements, visuomotor learning, reaction times and visuomotor control. Using fMRI, we found that differences in spatial computations during visually guided reaching elicit activity differences in pre-motor, parietal and lateral occipital cortex and that differences in visuomotor control elicit activity differences in secondary somatosensory cortex.

Thaler, L. & Goodale, M. A. (2011) Neural substrates of visual spatial coding and visual feedback control for hand movements in allocentric and target-directed tasks. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 5:92. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2011.00092.[link to free article]

Thaler, L. & Goodale, M. A.(2011) Reaction times for allocentric movements are 35 ms slower than reaction times for target-directed movements. Experimental Brain Research, 211 (2), 313-328. [download as pdf]

Thaler, L. & Goodale, M. A. (2011). The role of online visual feedback for the control of target-directed and allocentric hand movements. Journal of Neurophysiology, 105, 846-859. [download as pdf]

Thaler, L. & Goodale, M.A.(2010). Beyond Distance and Direction: The CNS represents Target Locations non-metrically. Journal of Vision, 10(3), 1-27. [link to free article]

Thaler, L. & Todd, J.T. (2010). Evidence from Visuo-Motor Adaptation for two partially independent Visuo-motor systems. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 36(4), 924-935. [download as pdf]

Thaler, L. & Todd, J.T. (2009). The Control Parameters used by the CNS to Guide the Hand Depend on the Visuo-Motor Task: Evidence from Visually Guided Pointing. Neuroscience, 159, 578-598. [download as pdf]

Thaler, L. & Todd, J.T. (2009). The Use of Head/Eye-Centered, Hand-Centered and Allocentric Representations for Visually Guided Hand Movements and Perceptual Judgments. Neuropsychologia, 47, 1227-1244. [download as pdf]