Host Institution: University Medical Center Groningen
Department that hosts the PhD: Department of Human Movement Sciences
This PhD project aims to reveal which type of joint angle variability should be varied in rehabilitation training to improve functional arm movements after stroke. This PhD focuses on the interaction between joint angle coordination and visual information. It exploits the longstanding idea that variability in actions is helpful in learning new perception-action couplings. This project has a specific focus on how variations in joint angle coordination patterns contribute to the search for useful visual information. The variability in joint angle coordination patterns will be manipulated using a body-machine interface in which the mapping between joint angles in the arm and trunk and the movement of an avatar on the screen will be varied. This allows manipulating the number of joint angles involved in the control of the avatar, hence, enables to vary joint angles that are not free to vary and those that free to vary. Varying the avatar and its task enables manipulating visual information. Experiments start with examining participants not suffering from a stroke to reveal which joint angle variability helps in learning the new perception-action coupling. The most optimal conditions revealed will be tested with patients suffering from a stroke. Note that the mapping between joint angles and the avatar can be adjusted to individuals to accommodate different levels of disability.