Dr. Elliott’s research investigates how we use sensory information to time and synchronise our movements. These can be 'automatic' everyday movements such as walking or nodding our head along to a song; or those which are more complicated, such as a musician playing in an orchestra or a dancer performing complex choreographed movements.
He has recently investigated how the brain integrates multisensory timing information when people are synchronising movements to repetitive events or rhythms. This research has led to the development of Bayesian models that allow estimation of the expected timing errors in movements based on the statistics of the sensory events being synchronised with. This research was funded by the BBSRC in the UK.
He is now investigating how people synchronise actions when moving together as a group. It is known that people can be influenced by others in their actions and indeed on occasions find themselves moving in synchrony with another person (e.g. when walking). In some situations group synchrony can cause problems. For example, the famous Millenium Bridge issue in London, where large scale synchrony of movements led to extreme interactions with the bridge’s structure. His current work is investigating what sensory information is required that leads to a group of individuals becoming synchronised. In particular, he is interested how the brain combines visual timing information from each member of the group as a cue for one’s own movement. The models produced in this research will be done in collaboration with the Vibration Research Group at Sheffield University. It is hoped these models will allow more advanced bridge and stadium structures to be designed. This research is being funded by the EPSRC in the UK.
Racic, V., Wang, S., Brownjohn, J.M.W., Elliott, M. T., Wing, A. (2013) Effect of sensory stimuli on dynamic loading induced by people bouncing. IMAC XXXI: A Conference and Exposition on Structural Dynamics, 11-14 February, Orange County, California, USA.
Elliott, M. T., Wing, A. M., & Welchman, A. E. (2011). The effect of ageing on multisensory integration for the control of movement timing. Exp Brain Res, 213(2), 291-298. DOI: 10.1007/s00221-011-2740-x
Noormohammadi, N., Brownjohn, J. Wing, A., Racic, V., Johannsen, L., Elliott, M. (2011). Effect of different cues on spectators’ synchronisation, a vibration engineering approach. Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Structural Dynamics, EURODYN 2011.
Elliott, M. T., Wing, A. M., & Welchman, A. E. (2010). Multisensory cues improve sensorimotor synchronisation. Europ J Neurosci, 31, 1828-1835. DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2010.07205.x
Elliott, M. T., Petra, I., Ma, X., Brett, P. N., & Holding, D. J. (2009). Quantifying sway through surface deflection patterns: a novel approach using distributive tactile sensing. P I Mech Eng H, 223(7), 903-911. DOI: 10.1243/09544119JEIM509
Elliott, M. T., Ma, X., & Brett, P. N. (2009). A smart sensing platform for the classification of ambulatory patterns. P I Mech Eng H, 223(5), 567-575. DOI: 10.1243/09544119JEIM523
Elliott, M. T., Welchman, A. E., & Wing, A. M. (2009). Being discrete helps keep to the beat. Exp Brain Res, 192(4), 731-737. DOI:10.1007/s00221-008-1646-8
Elliott, M. T., Welchman, A. E., & Wing, A. M. (2009). MatTAP: A MATLAB toolbox for the control and analysis of movement synchronisation experiments. J Neurosci Meth, 177(1), 250-257. DOI:10.1016/j.neumeth.2008.10.002