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SPEX317 Neural Control of Movement

Neurophysiological mechanisms underlying information processing and control of humanmovement.

This paper examines the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying information processing and control in human movement. The structure and function of the sensory and motor systems will be examined to understand the role of the brain in generating, initiating and controlling movement across the spectrum of motor behaviour – from elite motor performance to disordered movement. The paper covers neurophysiological techniques commonly used in movement neuroscience research, as well as clinical and sports/exercise settings to assess and quantify human movement.

Paper title Neural Control of Movement
Paper code SPEX317
Subject Sport, Physical Education and Exercise
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2023 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,141.35
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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One of: (SPEX 202, PHSE 202, PSYC 211 or PHSL 231)
PHSE 304 PHSE 504
Schedule C

This paper builds on a good understanding of motor behaviour (control, learning, development) from a neuroscience perspective, or an advanced knowledge of cognitive neuroscience, with limited understanding of human movement.


Teaching staff

Course Coordinator and Lecturer: Dr Rebekah Blakemore

Paper Structure

A combination of lectures and practical laboratories. The range of topics that the paper typically covers includes: reflexes, preparation of voluntary movement, movement disorders/CNS damage, influences of fatigue, perception, memory, emotion, and attention on action, electromyography and neuroimaging.

Teaching Arrangements

Lectures and laboratories require doing readings in advance of class to be able to discuss in class. Lecture notes will be posted on blackboard. Laboratory attendance and participation is compulsory.

  1. Kandel, E.R., Schwartz, J.H., Jessell, T.M., Siegelbaum, S.A., and Hudspeth, A.J. (2012). Principles of neural science. (5th Edition). New York: McGraw-Hill.
  2. Latash, M. L. (2008). Neurophysiological Basis of Movement. (2nd Edition), Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.  Text provided via eReserve.
  3. Other required readings will be linked on Blackboard.

Lectures and laboratory activities will be based upon material in these textbook and any blackboard readings. Regular access to the textbooks and these readings during the semester will be assumed.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised

Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Critical thinking, Communication, Information literacy, Teamwork, Research
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.

Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the paper will:

  • Use knowledge of the structure and function of the sensory and motor systems to show understanding of the generation and control of human movement.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the neurophysiological mechanisms underpinning the control of human movement.
  • Apply knowledge of the role of the brain in human movement to understand elite motor performance and movement disorders.
  • Demonstrate an ability to use neurophysiological techniques commonly used to assess and quantify human movement control.
  • Understand the scientific method of the research process (design, acquisition, analysis, interpretation, critique, and reporting) related to movement neuroscience research.

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Not offered in 2023

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system