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Chris Button

Chris-button-flumeAssociate Professor
BSc(Hons) PhD(MMU)
Tel 64 03 479 9122
Room 1.25, 55 Union St West


Chris Button gained his PhD at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2000, before working at Edinburgh University in Scotland. Chris moved to NZ in 2003. Previous roles have included the Director of the Human Performance Centre and the Co-Director of Lifestyles in NZ research group. As well as carrying out teaching and research, Chris has provided consultancy with several sports providing advice on Biomechanics and Skill Acquisition to the likes of Snowsports NZ, Netball NZ, NZ Football, and Motorsport NZ.

Chris is an Executive Committee member of the Australasian Skill Acquisition Research Group. Chris is an Associate Editor of the European Journal of Sport Science and an Editorial advisor for Frontiers in Psychology. Chris is the academic leader for the Sports Technology major in the Bachelor of Applied Sciences programme

Chris lives on the Otago Peninsular, with his wife Angela and daughter Melanie.



Dr Button's research interests include movement coordination and variability, skill learning, coaching, water safety and survival skills. He has been the recipient of several research grants from organisations such as SportNZ, ACC, and Water Safety New Zealand. Chris has published in several international peer-reviewed journals, and a common theme of this work is the application of movement science to sport within an Ecological framework. Summaries of much of his work linking theory to practice can be found in the textbooks, 'Dynamics of Skill Acquisition' (2007: Human Kinetics), 'Complex Systems in Sport’ (2013: Routledge, Taylor & Francis), and ‘Nonlinear Pedagogy in Skill Acquisition’ (2016: Routledge, Taylor & Francis)

Potential postgraduate students must be interested in applying an ecological dynamics framework to physical activity and/or sport. Please consult the University of Otago scholarships webpage to check eligibility for international and domestic student scholarships.

Postgraduate Students

Current Students

  • Jennifer Hewit: Monitoring and developing decision-making behaviors of Netball players (Enrolled for PhD in Sept 2007, completed July 2011) Prof John Cronin, Prof. Patria Hume, and Dr Chris Button.
  • Dave O'Donovan: Skill acquisition of paralympic boccia athletes. (Enrolled for MPhEd Mar 2009, completed Oct 2011) Dr Chris Button.
  • Michael Jacobs: Treasure chest: Is the centre of mass the fastest way forward? (Enrolled for MPhEd Feb 2011, completed May 2013) Dr Chris Button, Dr Angus Ross.


  • Luiz Uehara: Examination of the environmental constraints influencing development of Brazilian football players. Dr Chris Button, Dr Mark Falcous.
  • Neil Anderson: The role of gymnastics in promoting fundamental movements skills and motor skill transfer. Dr Chris Button, Dr Peter Lamb.
  • Rens Meerhoff. Intersocial coordination in sports. Dr Chris Button, Dr Harjo de Poel.

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Schnitzler, C., Button, C., Seifert, L., Armbrust, G., & Croft, J. L. (2017). Does water temperature influence the performance of key survival skills? Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/sms.12997

Meerhoff, L. A., De Poel, H. J., Jowett, T. W. D., & Button, C. (2017). Influence of gait mode and body orientation on following a walking avatar. Human Movement Science, 54, 377-387. doi: 10.1016/j.humov.2017.06.005

Passos, P., Milho, J., & Button, C. (2017). Quantifying synergies in two-versus-one situations in team sports: An example from Rugby Union. Behavior Research Methods. Advance online publication. doi: 10.3758/s13428-017-0889-3

Croft, J. L., Pepping, G. J., Button, C., & Chow, J. Y. (2017). Children's perception of action boundaries and how it affects their climbing behavior. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 166, 134-146. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2017.07.012

Anderson, N., & Button, C. (2017). Development of static postural control: An overview and summary of entropy analysis. Journal of Motor Learning & Development, 5(1), 126-147. doi: 10.1123/jmld.2016-0011

More publications...