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, 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

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

Factors impacting postural sway of infants.
Do concurrent task demands and different support surfaces impact how infants control their sitting postural sway?  

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.  

Understanding the Control of Adaptive Locomotion.
This research examines the role of the individual, the task, and the environment in shaping locomotor behavior

COBALT: COgnitive BALance Training paradigm to improve quality of life for people with Parkinson’s disease.
Novel intervention to simultaneously train balance and cognition, simulating the demands inherent in common tasks, as people with Parkinson’s disease often fall while performing activities requiring simultaneous cognitively-demanding tasks (e.g. walking while talking).

Our People

Dr. Satyajit Ambike
Assistant 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