The role of variability in motor learning

BioSystems Science and Engineering (BSSE)  student, Mr. Puneet Singh, under the supervision of Prof. Aditya Murthy and Prof. Ashitava Ghosal, explored whether motor variability–often unwanted characteristic of motor performance–has any significance in motor learning. They proposed that motor variability has two components, one caused by redundancy and other due to random noise. In this work, Singh et al. quantified redundancy space and investigated its significance and effect on motor learning. They proposed that a larger redundancy space leads to faster learning across subjects and that noise is not the redundant component of motor variability. They also tested this hypothesis in neurologically diseased conditions to get a mechanistic understanding of how reward-based learning and error-based learning interact and how such learning is affected by redundancy space.
Publication: *P. Singh, S. Jana, A. Ghosal, A. Murthy* “Exploration of joint redundancy but not task space variability facilitates supervised motor learning”, PNAS, 2016 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1613383113 <http://www.dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1613383113>