The Role of the Basal Ganglia in Motor Learning
Over the summer, I will design an online experiment to assess the role the basal ganglia, a subcortical brain structure, plays in motor learning. Previous literature demonstrates that the brain is able to compensate for changes in the body (e.g., fatigue) and in the environment (e.g., a windy day). Whether the basal ganglia is involved in this learning process remains elusive. To answer this question, I will create a reaching experiment that specifically probes how we strategically compensate for our movement errors. To test the role of the basal ganglia, my experiment will compare the performance of individuals with Parkinson’s Disease who have impaired basal ganglia function to the performance of controls.