The role of Dopamine in movement and learning

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: School of Psychology


It is well-established that dopamine plays an important role in both movement and learning, but as yet unknown how it spans these different roles.
This interdisciplinary project will combine expertise from different research groups within human neuroscience at the University of Birmingham, including movement/kinematics and cognitive neuroscience, in order to better determine the neural mechanisms underlying dopamine's role in both movement and learning in the human brain. The primary aim of this research project will be to tease apart the relative contributions of dopamine to learning and movement.
To study this, we will use a paradigm with both motor and learning components to better understand the influence of dopamine on behavior in the healthy brain. Behavioural testing will investigate how individuals make inferences on the subjective states of others through movement observation, in addition to how well they can learn other's movements. The behavioral task will be supplemented with kinematic recordings of body movements. A pharmacological intervention in healthy subjects and a clinical task, using a PD model of dopamine depletion will probe the effects of dopamine depletion on movement and learning.
We will use computational models of cognition, such as hierarchical Bayesian inference, with the aim of characterising the computational operations underlying dopamine signaling and role in movement and learning.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M01116X/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1898537 Studentship BB/M01116X/1 02/10/2017 30/09/2021 Alicia Rybicki