Howard N. Zelaznik

Research Interests:

Professor Zelaznik examines theoretical issues in movement coordination and movement timing. Recently, he has proposed a new framework to explain timing processes in discrete tasks versus continuous tasks. Discrete tasks utilize an explicit, event timing system in which the central nervous system possesses a representation of the timed interval. Continuous tasks, on the other hand, are indirectly timed by the use of emergent timing. In emergent timing the central nervous system controls other variables of the movement trajectory, with the temporal properties emerging from this control process. These processes are studied in normal individuals (Purdue work) and in individuals with a compromised cerebellum (UC Berkeley collaboration).


Ph.D. (1978), University of Southern California, Los Angeles
M.S. (1975), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
B.S. (1974), Brooklyn College (CUNY), Brooklyn, NY

Published Textbook:

Motor Control and Learning 6th Edition with Web Resource, A Behavioral Emphasis

By Richard Schmidt, Tim Lee, Carolee Winstein, Gabriele Wulf, Howard Zelaznik

Zelaznik Textbook

Textbook can be found at:


  • Huys, R., Jirsa, V. K., Studenka, B., Rheaume, N., & Zelaznik, N. N. (2008). Human trajectory formation: Taxonomy of movement based on phase flow topology. In A. Fuchs & V. K. Jirsa (Eds.), Coordination:Neural, Behavioral and Social Dynamics (Understanding Complex Systems) (pp. 77-92). Berlin: Springer.
  • Zelaznik, H. N. (2008). Motor Learning for the Personal Trainer. In A. C. o. S. Medicine (Ed.), ACSM's Resources for the Personal Trainer, 2nd edition (pp. 177-186). Amsterdam, NL: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.
  • Huys, R., Studenka, B. E., Rheaume, N. L., Zelaznik, H. N., & Jirsa, V. K. (2008). Distinct Timing Mechanisms Produce Discrete and Continuous Movements. PLoS Computational Biology, 4, e1000061.
  • Studenka, B., & Zelaznik, N. N. (2008). The Influence of Dominant versus Non-Dominant Hand on Event and Emergent Motor Timing. Human Movement Science, 27, 29-52.
  • Schlerf, J. E., Spencer, R. M. C., Zelaznik, H. N., & Ivry, R. B. (2007). Timing of rhythmic movements in patients with cerebellar degeneration. Cerebellum, 6, 221-231.
  • Zelaznik, H. N., & Harper, W. A. (2007). Skill and physical activity: A central dogma for kinesiology. Quest, 59, 163-169.
  • Zelaznik, H. N., Spencer, R. M. C., Ivry, R. B., Baria, A., Bloom, M., Dolansky, L., et al. (2005). Timing variability in circle drawing and tapping: Probing the relationship between event and emergent timing. Journal of Motor Behavior, 37, 395-404.
  • Biberstine, J., Zelaznik, H. N., Kennedy, L., & Whetter, E. (2005). Timing precision in circle drawing does not depend on spatial precision of the timing target. Journal of Motor Behavior, 37, 447-453.
  • Spencer, R. M. C., Ivry, R. B., & Zelaznik, H. N. (2005). Role of the cerebellum in movements: control of timing or movement transitions? Experimental Brain Research, 161,383-496.
  • Smith, A., & Zelaznik, H. N. (2004). Development of functional synergies for speech motor coordination in childhood and adolescence. Developmental Psychobiology, 45, 22-33.
  • Spencer, R.M.C. & Zelaznik, H.N. (2003).  Weber (slope) analysis of timing variability in tapping and drawing tasks.  Journal of Motor Behavior, 35,  371-382.
  • Spencer, R.M.C., Zelaznik, H.N., Diedrichsen, J., & Ivry, R.B. (2003).  Disrupted timing of discontinuous but not continuous movements by cerebellar lesions.  Science, 300, 1437-1439.
  • Ivry, R., Spencer, R. M., Zelaznik, H. N., & Diedrichsen, J. (2002). The cerebellum and event timing. In S. M. Highstein & W. T. Thach (Eds.), The Cerebellum: Recent developments in cerebellar research (Vol. 978, pp. 302-317). New York: New York Academy of Sciences.
  • Zelaznik, H., Spencer, R. M. C., & Ivry, R. B. (2002). Dissociation of explicit and implicit timing in repetitive tapping and drawing movements. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 28, 575-588.
  • Zelaznik, H. N., Spencer, R. M., & Doffin, J. G. (2000). Temporal precision in tapping and circle drawing movements at preferred rates is not correlated: Further evidence against timing as a general purpose ability. Journal of Motor Behavior, 32, 193-199.
  • Robertson, S., Zelaznik, H., Lantero, D., Gadacz, K., Spencer, R., Doffin, J., & Schneidt, T. (1999). Correlations for timing consistency among tapping and drawing tasks: Evidence against a single timing process for motor control. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 25, 1316-1330.

Howard N. Zelaznik


Lambert, Room 205D
Phone: (765) 494-5601
Fax: (765) 496-1239

The Motor Behavior Group

Center on Aging and Life Course

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