9.05 Neural Basis of Movement

Spring 2003

A boy with his foot near the fire illustrating Descartes' withdrawal reflex.
Descartes' concept of the withdrawal reflex. (René Descartes. L'Homme de Rene Descartes. Paris: Charles Angot, 1664. Courtesy of the French National Ministry of Education.)

Course Highlights

This undergraduate course is an introduction to the field of motor control and motor learning. The extensive reading list is designed to thoroughly ground the students in the classical beginnings of the field and then lead them to the forefront of research. The related resources allow the students to explore in greater depth specific topics not covered in the class.  

Course Description

Surveys general principles and specific examples of motor control in biological systems. Emphasizes the neural mechanisms underlying different aspects of movement and movement planning. Covers sensory reception, reflex arcs, spinal cord organization, pattern generators, muscle function, locomotion, eye movement, and cognitive aspects of motor control. Functions of central motor structures including cerebellum, basal ganglia, and cerebral cortex considered. Cortical plasticity, motor learning and computational approaches to motor control, and motor disorders are discussed.

*Some translations represent previous versions of courses.

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Prof. Emilio Bizzi
Prof. Ann M Graybiel
Prof. Peter H Schiller
Prof. Mriganka Sur
Prof. Chris Moore

Course Meeting Times

Two sessions / week
1.5 hours / session