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Research Human Movement Sciences

We stimulate fundamental and applied research. Both are essential for a proper understanding of human movement in daily life. Our research is predominantly experimental and addresses various aspects of human movement.

The Department of Human Movement Sciences studies how people move, how movement can become impaired and how it can be improved. The Department also offers educational programmes at bachelor, master and PhD levels. Research and education are multidisciplinary, combining (neuro-)physiology, (bio-)mechanics and (cognitive) psychology in integrative approach to better understand human movement and to optimise it in sports and health.

Broad networking

We embedded broad national and international networks and contribute with our strong expertise in the study of human movement.

Our research receives financial support by various parties including NWO/ZonMW/STW and EU/ERC, and different charities.

Multidiscipinary approach

Movement Sciences is seminal for cross-disciplinary and translational research. We contribute to and integrate knowledge from various scientific fields and manoeuvre at the frontiers of science.

Pushing scientific boundaries and contributing to societal challenges are equally important. Large parts of our research are rooted in two research institutes: Amsterdam Movement Science (AMS) and the Institute for Brain and Behavior Amsterdam (iBBA). Within the department research activities are organized in five sections: Biomechanics, Learning and Performance, Neurocontrol, Physiology and Prevention and rehabilitation.

Research groups

  • Biomechanics

    The section Biomechanics investigates the function of muscles as mechanical and sensory organs. Example questions are: how is postural stability is maintained against gravity, what sensory information and motor strategies are used to and how is the affected by injury, aging, and disease, but also by training? How are mechanics and energetics of walking and running optimised such that we do not to fall? How do we control our extremities when throwing a ball or when threading a needle?

    More about biomechanics and our themes 

  • Learning and performance

    The section Learning & Performance focuses on how perceptual-motor control at the different time scales of development, learning and peak performance is brought about by the constraints on the actor-environment system. It investigates (the best) ways to acquire and facilitate skill in motor tasks by examining the interaction between a task (e.g., object characteristics, task instructions, digital technology), the environment in which it is performed (e.g., when under pressure, doing two things at once), and the characteristics of the actor performing the task (e.g., expertise, brain damage, emotions) with a special emphasis on visual perception (e.g., by using gaze recordings).

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  • Neurocontrol

    Spearpoints for the section Neurocontrol are the sensorimotor integration in visually guide movement, the (loss of) stability in movement coordination. The research covers behavioural and electrophysiological assessments as well as neuroimaging and its mathematical conceptualisation.

    More about Neurcontrol and our themes 

  • Physiology

    The physiology section investigates how the human body functions during exercise. Additionally, we investigate how the body adapts to exercise. We do this in the spectrum from the molecular level (e.g. muscle proteins) to the whole body level (e.g. changes in aerobic capacity). The population we investigate differs in age, gender and ethnicity and we also include special groups like elite athletes, disabled, spinal cord injured subjects or patients with muscle diseases. We have a brand new muscle analysis lab and a human performance lab in which we control temperature, humidity, altitude and exercise type and duration. We combine fundamental with applied research with the ultimate goal to improve movement performance in the context of rehabilitation and sports. 

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  • Prevention and rehabilitation

    Neuromuscular and musculoskeletal disorders negatively impact on neuromechanical function and performance of daily activities. Impaired neuromechanical function may aggravate disorders and symptoms. The section Prevention and Rehabilitation studies mechanisms underlying musculoskeletal dysfunction develops methods for diagnostics and treatment in relation postural control, gait, and upper extremity function in daily settings.

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