Motor learning is a fundamental process which influences many aspects of our lives; from learning to walk in childhood to the rehabilitation process following an illness or injury. Despite the impact to society, it has proved extremely difficult to develop interventions that significantly enhance human motor learning in health or disease. Recent work from the Galea lab suggests that reward- and punishment-based feedback have positive but dissociable effects on motor learning.
Using a combination of behavioural analysis, computational modelling, genetics and pharmacology, this 1.5 million Euro ERC grant will develop the first in-depth understanding of how reward- and punishment-based motivational feedback (winning money based on task success vs. losing money based on task failure) influences motor learning. This work will enable the development of interventions that utilise reward/punishment to optimise motor learning in healthy individuals and stroke patients suffering motor impairments.