The Human Motor Behavior Group at Purdue University consists of five faculty members operating in a highly interactive lab and research environment. The Group is involved in fundamental science aspects of motor behavior and explores innovative solutions for improving quality of life. We study healthy and pathological motor behavior across the lifespan, ranging in age from 4 months to 91 years. We rely on theoretical frameworks such as dynamical systems, ecological psychology, uncontrolled manifold, and our research includes both experimental and modeling techniques.

The Group actively collaborates with Purdue's schools of Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Speech, Languageand Hearing Sciences, the departments of Psychological Sciences and Human Development and Family Studies, and the College of Veterinary Medicine, as well as with Indiana University-Purdue University's School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.

We are always looking for motivated students to become team members in our labs. Please browse our website to discover more about our work and learn how to get involved.

Our Research

Get Involved

We are currently involved in projects ranging from fundamental scientific inquiry of human movement in health, aging, and pathology, technology development for effective biomechanical measurements, application of human movement science to graphical user interface design, and much more.

The motor behavior group offers several opportunities for students – both graduate and undergraduate – to get involved in the research and obtain valuable experience as subjects in experiments and/or as research assistants. Please click below to discover how you can get involved with our work.

Current Projects

Control of Adaptive Locomotion

Discovering how the individual, the task, and the environment interact and shape adaptive locomotion.

Understanding manual dexterity

Characterizing finger behavior while manipulating objects. Stability-dexterity tradeoff in prehension.

Play and Learning Across a Year (PLAY) project

The goal of the PLAY project is to collect naturalistic video data on infants and mothers in a home setting across the United States and Canada. Data from this project will be used to investigate bimanual and locomotor skills in infants.

Baby Exploration Project (BErP)

A multidisciplinary team consisting of researchers from motor development, civil engineering, and chemistry are working together to understand how the home environment can impact infant health. Data from BErP will be used to document the opportunities for learning and potential hazards infants encounter in the home.

Individual differences in Fitts’ Law Performance

Fitts law, the most robust relation in all of motor performance, characterizes averaged group behavior.  We ask whether this relation can be used to classify individuals as reliably good or poor Fitts’ Law performers.  

Our People

Dr. Satyajit Ambike
Associate Professor (Biomechanics & Motor Control)

Dr. Laura Claxton
Associate Professor (Motor Development)

Dr. Jeff Haddad
Associate Professor (Motor Control & Development)

Dr. Shirley Rietdyk
Professor (Biomechanics)

Dr. Howard Zelaznik
Professor (Motor Control)

Our Team