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Learning and performance

Our research program focuses on motor learning and performance (MLP). MLP combines motor coordination and control, perception, skill acquisition, cognition and emotion. MLP addresses current themes both in the science of human movement and skill and in today’s society, particularly in (physical) education, sports (including the safety domain) and rehabilitation.

The research contributes to theory development and uncovers empirical evidence on MLP across the different timescales of development, learning, and (peak) performance. Accordingly, our research program on MLP contributes to knowledge and evidence for ways to acquire and facilitate skilled performance. We particularly examine how skilled performance emerges from the interaction between aspects of the task (e.g., task instructions, digital technology), the environment (e.g., competitive, educational and virtual environments), and the individual (e.g., experience, impairments, emotions, gaze strategies).

Our research is largely driven by questions on promoting, preserving and restoring MLP that arise in physical education, sports and rehabilitation. It is based on and contributes to fundamental knowledge of underlying mechanisms and principles of skilled performance. On the one hand, we examine how skilled performers (e.g., (potential) elite athletes, musicians, and police officers), children and patients learn to coordinate and control motor skills, and when and how acquired skills that become disrupted, sometimes to the degree they require relearning. On the other hand, we address how this performance and learning of motor skills can best be facilitated by practitioners like, trainers/coaches, teachers and therapists, considering the differences among individual learners (e.g., talent, executive function, impairments, coping strategies) and performance contexts (i.e., broadly conceived as teaching).

In sum, our overarching aim is to be a world leader in the research and dissemination of knowledge in fundamental and applied motor learning and performance.