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Perception action lab activities

Perception-Action Laboratory

In the Perception-Action lab we study how we adapt corrective balance reactions to meet environmental challenges under extreme time pressure. Although a complex nervous system allows for the production of goal-oriented movements, time delays associated with traversing an expansive neural network are at odds with the demand for rapid action. In balance recovery, many of the mechanisms for generating corrective postural adjustments are embedded within basic levels of the neural hierarchy (e.g. spinal cord and brainstem) thereby minimizing processing delays. However, when recovery actions need to adapt to complicated environments these automatic responses are insufficient. Here the brain must play a role. In our research we use techniques that directly assess brain function, such as magnetic brain stimulation and electroencephalography, to address the role of the brain in reactive balance. The aim is to determine how the brain overcomes conflicting demands to produce movement in a fast yet context-specific manner to avoid a fall in complex environments.