Chair of Human Movement Science

Research at the Chair of Human Movement Science is devoted to the understanding of human sensorimotor control and associated neural mechanism. Major topics are

  • Analysis of motor behavior from elementary abilities to complex skills,
  • Consequences of disturbances of the central nervous systems and neurorehabilitation,
  • Development over the lifespan and interventions,
  • Sports performance and optimization.

We employ methods to capture and analyze human movements and forces as well as neuroimaging and brain stimulation methods and new technologies in rehabilitation.



New article published in "Neuropsychologia"

Salazar-Lopez, E., Schwaiger, B., & Hermsdörfer, J. (2016). Lesion correlates of impairments in actual tool use following unilateral brain damage.


New article published in "Neural Plasticity"

Research has often demonstrated that a regular beat in music makes it easier for us to perceive and synchronize with musical rhythms. Here we show that a similar process is taking place when we observe dance movements: We use the regular pattern in the trajectory as a visual beat, which assists us in timing the movement sequence perceptually. These results not only reveal parallel perceptual mechanisms for music and dance rhythms, but also yield implications in how we can acquire movement skills by perceptual learning.


Yi-Huang Su & Elvira Salazar-López (2016). Visual Timing of Structured Dance Movements Resembles Auditory Rhythm Perception. Neural Plasticity, vol. 2016, Article ID 1678390. doi:10.1155/2016/1678390


New article published in "Frontiers in Human Neuroscience"

Ever feel this urge to tap your foot along when you hear groovy music? This is a typical example of “sensorimotor synchronization”, where we synchronize a regular pattern of movement (e.g., foot tapping, head nodding) to rhythmic sensory information such as music. This study shows that similar mechanisms exist when we observe rhythmic dance movements: We can pick up a regular beat in the movement and tap along with it. As with music, tapping to dance stimuli is also influenced by intricate rhythm information in the entire movement.

Su, Y-H (2016) Sensorimotor Synchronization with Different Metrical Levels of Point-Light Dance Movements. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 10:186. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00186


New article published in "Scientific Reports"

We all listen to music and get the rhythm easily: for example, we move naturally to the beat. But could we also “see” the rhythm of dance movements in a similar manner? This study is part of the ongoing project that investigates how humans visually perceive and synchronize to the rhythm of dance movements, and how this process compares to that in hearing musical rhythms. The first results suggest that rhythm perception in dance may engage similar principles to rhythm perception in music. Su, Y.-H., (2016).

Visual tuning and metrical perception of realistic point-light dance movements. Scientific Reports, 6:22774. doi: 10.1038/srep22774.


Newly funded project „Active Hands“

The Chair of Human Movement Science successfully applied for a new project in the EIT Health program. With this initiative the „European Institute for Innovation & Technology (EIT)“ supports innovations for healthy living and active aging. The project “Active Hands” will provide methods to prevent or reduce the consequence of deficits in performing complex activities of daily living - such as during food preparation or daily hygiene – that arise in old age and due to central nervous system diseases. “Active Hands” will thus promote independent and autonomous living.  The project is coordinated by the Chair of Human Movement Science and has four other partners from Spain and France. The planned duration is three years and the funding of the first project year amounts at 450.000 € for the whole group.


New project ROLITOS start: Robotic light touch support during locomotion in balance impaired humans

In clinical settings, caregivers provide manual support during locomotion to patients with impaired body balance. Thus, interpersonal manual support represents an ecologically valid and effective strategy for controlling a patients' fall risk in dynamic postural activities. From a therapeutic point of view, however, restricting patient's movement degrees of freedom by grasping his body to support his weight has to be considered inadequate for the purpose of practicing own control of body balance. A more promising strategy is balance support provided in a 'light touch' fashion, for example by lightly resting a hand on the back or shoulder of a patient without taking patient's weight. We like to ask which are the qualities that make an expert healthcare provider so efficient in the provision of adaptive manual balance support? We believe the answer is associated with the ability to anticipate a patient's dynamics. The scientific aim of the research project is, therefore to improve the understanding of interpersonal dynamics of light touch in general and the caregiver-patient interaction during light interpersonal touch stabilisation in particular. Our engineering aim is the translation of the principles of human-to-human interpersonal coordination for light tactile balance support into a robotic solution. Major outcomes will be measures of the contact receiver's postural stability and interpersonal coordination with the provider but also autonomic measures of the receiver's state anxiety of falling. The later will express human acceptance of the robotic balance support.


Visit of the Virtual Reality and Visualization Centre at the Leibnitz Rechenzentrum

On Tuesday, 22nd July the working group visited the Centre for Virtual Reality und Visualization (V2C) at the Leibniz Rechenzentrum. The centre provides a high resolution projection screen for visualization purposes and a “VR cave” with a 5-sided projection-installation for creating virtual reality scenarios. This installation makes it possible to create a realistic manipulable 3D world in which a subject can act. The cave therefore offers exciting possibilities for research in human movement science. We thank the V2C for the presentation of their installations and hope for further cooperations.


New article published in "Neuroscience":

M.M.N. Bieńkiewicz, W.R. Young, C.M. Craig (2014) Balls to the wall: How acoustic information from a ball in motion guides interceptive movement in people with Parkinson’s disease




New research article published in "Acta Psychologica":

Su, Y.-H. (2014). Audiovisual beat induction in complex auditory rhythms: Point-light figure movement as an effective visual beat. Acta Psychologica, 151, 40–50. doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2014.05.016


Invitation "sensorimotor control" colloquium

On July 3rd, 2014 Tamara Lorenz from LMU, CoTeSys, will talk about movement synchronization in human interaction and its applicability in human-robot interaction. 

Thursday 5:30 pm, Campus D, Georg-Brauchle-Ring 60, ground floor, L006


Invitation "sensorimotor control" colloquium

On June 27th, 2014 Pia Vinken from Leibniz University of Hannover, Department for Sports Science will talk about Auditory recognition of sonified upper-limb actions and visual perception during complex whole-body movements. 

Friday 10:00 am, Campus D, Georg-Brauchle-Ring 60, ground floor, L006


Invitation „sensorimotor control“ colloquium

On June 12th, 2014 Andrea Geipel, research associate of our faculty (Chair of Sportpsychology) will talk about short term exercise effects on attention. 

Thursday 5:30 pm, Campus D, Georg-Brauchle-Ring 60, ground floor, L006



New Research article published in Brain and Cognition:

Su, Y.-H. (2014) Visual enhancement of auditory beat perception across auditory interference levels. Brain and Cognition, 90, 19-31.


Invitation "sensorimotor control" colloquium

On June 5th, 2014 our co-worker Marie-Luise Brandi will talk about the neural correlates of planning and executing actual tool use. 

Thursday 5:30 pm, Campus D, Georg-Brauchle-Ring 60, ground floor, L006


New Research article published in PLoS ONE:

Markus Huber, Yi-Huang Su, Melanie Krüger, Katrin Faschian, Stefan Glasauer, Joachim Hermsdörfer (2014) Adjustments of speed and path when avoiding collisions with another pedestrian, PlosOne, 9(2): e89589.


In the present study we investigated the collision avoidance behavior of pedestrians walking at different speeds in the presence of a non-reactive interferer crossing at different angles.


New Research article published in Frontiers in Psychology:

Marta M. N. Bieńkiewicz, Marie-Luise Brandi, Georg Goldenberg, Charmayne M. L. Hughes and Joachim Hermsdörfer (2014) The tool in the brain: apraxia in ADL. Behavioral and neurological correlates of apraxia in daily living, Frontiers in Psychology.