URAP

Lauren Schuck

The Role of the Basal Ganglia in Motor Learning

Over the summer, I will design an online experiment to assess the role the basal ganglia, a subcortical brain structure, plays in motor learning. Previous literature demonstrates that the brain is able to compensate for changes in the body (e.g., fatigue) and in the environment (e.g., a windy day). Whether the basal ganglia is involved in this learning process remains elusive. To answer this question, I will create a reaching experiment that specifically probes how we strategically compensate for our movement errors. To test the role of the basal ganglia, my experiment will compare the performance of individuals with Parkinson’s Disease who have impaired basal ganglia function to the performance of controls.

Message to Sponsor

Thank you so much for your generosity in funding my research project! I was able to fully dive into my work by completing a comprehensive meta-analysis concerning the studies related to my research, while also writing a portion of a study that is going to be published! These benchmarks in my research along with the new coding and experimental design skills that I learned this summer will not only be very important for my future career but they will also bolster my application to graduate school this fall. I am deeply grateful for your support, thank you again!
  • Major: Psychology
  • Mentor: Richard Ivry, Psychology