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Motor Behavior Research

Research Facilities

Texas Tech and the Department of Health, Exercise & Sport Sciences supports state-of- the-art laboratories in Motor Behavior. These facilities provide research in motor development, learning, and control and are equipped with a NeroCom Balance Master, a NeuroScan EEG system, DARTFISH software, multiple digital cameras, e-Prime software and expansion kit, and state-of-the-art computers.

Motor Development

Motor Development Research

Motor development is especially concerned with changes in movement (motor behavior) across the lifespan and the processes that underlie these most important milestones. At the HESS our emphasis is on the acquisition of fundamental motor patterns of both typically developing children and those who are at-risk of delay. The latter population includes children with specific diagnoses, e.g. attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) cerebral palsy, and those who have potential limiting factors such as overweight/obese children, and likewise those who have possible cognitive delays as mitigated by socio-economic status (low SES and minority groups). In terms of specific mechanisms, the thrust is to investigate the underlying factors that influence movement specifically balance and sensory contribution to stability. We seek to identify factors that could possibly differentiate at-risk groups from those children who develop typically in terms of their motor skills.

Research Publications:

  • Stodden, D. F., Langendorfer, S. J., Fleisig, G. S., & Andrews, J. R. (2006). Kinematic constraints associated with the acquisition of overarm throwing Part I: Step and trunk actions. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 77, 417-427.
  • Stodden, D. F., Langendorfer, S. J., Fleisig, G. S., & Andrews, J. R. (2006). Kinematic constraints associated with the acquisition of overarm throwing Part II: Upper extremity actions. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 77, 428-436.
  • Stodden, D. F., & Rudisill, M. E. (2006). Integration of biomechanical and developmental concepts in the acquisition of throwing: Effects on developmental characteristics and gender differences. Journal of Human Movement Studies, 51, 117-141.
  • Roncesvalles, M. N., Schmitz, C., Zedka, M., Assaiante, C. & Woollacott, M. (2005). From Egocentric to Exocentric Spatial Orientation: The Development of Posture Control In Bimanual and Trunk Inclination Tasks. Journal of Motor Behavior, 37 (5), 404-416.
  • Roncesvalles, M. N., Woollacott, M. & Jensen, J. (2004). An emerging postural response: Is control of the hip possible in the newly walking child? Journal of Motor Behavior, 36, 147-160.
  • Roncesvalles, M. N., Woollacott, M., Burtner, P. (2002). Neural factors underlying reduced postural adaptability in children with cerebral palsy. Clinical Neuroscience and Neuropathology, 13, 2407-2410.
  • Roncesvalles, M. N., Woollacott, M. & Jensen, J. (2001). The development of lower extremity kinetics for balance control in infants and young children. Journal of Motor Behavior, 33, 180-192.
  • Roncesvalles, M. N., Woollacott, M. & Jensen, J. (2000). The development of compensatory stepping skills in children. Journal of Motor Behavior, 32, 100-111.
  • Schott, N. & Roncesvalles, M. N. (2004). Motorische Ungeschicklichkeit – Diagnose und Therapie. Zeitschrift für Sportpsychologie, 11, 147-162.
  • Sundermier, L., Woollacott, M., Roncesvalles, M. N. & Jensen, J. (2001). The development of balance control in children: Comparisons of EMG and kinetic variables and chronological and developmental groupings. Experimental Brain Research. 136 (3), 340-350.

Motor Skill Competence and Physical Activity

This research examines the dynamic relationship between motor skill competence and physical activity.

Grant Information:

  • Goodway, J. D., Stodden, D. F., Langendorfer, S. J., (2009). Examining the Dynamic Relationship Between Motor Skill Competence and Physical Activity. NIH R21 Exploratory Grant, $275,000.00 (Direct costs - $91,176).  Funded.

Research Publications:

  • Stodden, D. F., Goodway, J. D., Langendorfer, S. J., Roberton, M. A., Rudisill, M. E., Garcia, C., & Garcia, L. E. (2008). A developmental perspective on the role of motor skill competence in physical activity: An emergent relationship. Quest, 60, 290-306.
  • Stodden, D. F., Langendorfer, S. J., & Roberton, M. A. (2009). Associations among motor skill competence and physical fitness in young adults. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 80, 223-229.

Motor Control

Theoretical research interests include the role of attentional capacity and information processes in motor learning and movement production.

Research Publications:

  • Hart, M.A., & Reeve, T.G. (2007). Equivalency of reaction times for simple and primed tasks. Acta Psychologica, 125, 291-300.
  • Hart, M.A., Dornier, L.A., & Reeve, T.G. (2006). Divided attention costs for speeded and non-speeded movements to near and far targets. Journal of Human Movement Studies, 51(6):371-381.
  • Hart, M.A., & Reeve, T.G. (2002). Influence of practice on response-selection and response-implementation processes involved in the response interference effect. Acta Psychologica, 109, 177-194.
  • Urbin, M.A., Stodden, D. F., Boros, R.L., & Shannon, D.M. (in press). Impulse-variability theory in overarm throwing. Motor Control.
  • Urbin, M.A., Stodden, D. F., Fischman, M.G., & Weimar, W.H. (in press). Impulse-variability theory: implications for ballistic, multijoint motor skills. Journal of Motor Behavior.
  • Fischman, M. G., Stodden, D. F., & Lehman, D. M. (2003).  The end-state comfort effect in bimanual grip selection. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 74, 17-24.

Motor Learning

Motor Learning Research

Focusing on promoting the acquisition of fundamental motor skills, specifically ballistic motor skills, and the association of motor skill competence with physical activity and physical fitness throughout the lifespan. The theoretical underpinnings of this work focus on specific aspects of dynamic systems theory including the synergistic and dynamic interactions of multiple factors (subsystems) such as task, environmental, and organismic constraints and how they influence motor skill acquisition. This research emphasizes the need to address and understand mechanisms and casual pathways related to physical activity behaviors.

Research Publications:

  • Hart, M.A., Smith, L., & DeChant, A. (2006). Effect of participation in a cup stacking unit on hand-eye coordination of elementary children. The Physical Educator, 63, 154-159.
  • Hart, M.A., Meaney, K.S., & Roncesvalles, M.N. (June 2005). Effectiveness of attentional focus on motor skill learning in children: A preliminary investigation. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 27 (Suppl.), S74.
  • Hart, M.A., Smith, L., & DeChant, A. (2005). Influence of participation in a cup stacking unit on timing tasks. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 101, 869-876.
  • Meaney, K.S., Griffin, K., & Hart, M.A. (2005). The effect of model similarity on girls’ motor performance. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 24, 165-178.
  • Wang, L., &Hart, M.A. (2005). Influence of auditory modeling on the learning of a swimming skill. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 100, 640-648.
  • Hart, M.A. (2004). Transfer of participation in fast-pitch softball to the performance of a coincidence anticipation task. Journal of Human Movement Studies, 46, 359-371.
  • Stodden, D. F. (2006). Facilitating the acquisition of complex ballistic motor skills: Promoting proximal or distal system perturbations? Journal of Human Movement Studies, 51, 197-220.
  • Fischman, M. G.,Stodden, D. F., & Lehman, D. M. (2003). The end-state comfort effect in bimanual grip selection. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 74, 17-24.