Date Awarded

Fall 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)




Paul D Kieffaber

Committee Member

Matthew Hilimire

Committee Member

Joshua Burk


Movement is one of the most important functions of our nervous system. Recent research has shown that cognitive and perceptual functions ranging from our perception of others’ emotions to the planning of goal-directed behaviors depends critically on brain areas once thought to be primarily motor in nature. Given the important role our motor system plays in understanding and interacting with the world around us, it is surprising that the majority of cognitive neuroscience research using electroencephalogram (EEG) has focused primarily on perception and cognition irrespective of its relationship(s) to the execution of movement. One possible explanation for this is that EEG and event-related potential (ERP) studies typically rely on simplistic motor responses and ERP averaging techniques that do not afford an analysis of these dynamic relationships. Combining a novel method for tracking dynamic cursor movement and single-trial EEG analysis, the current study addressed this limitation in the field via assessment of younger and older adults’ goal-directed movements during a task-set switching procedure. Our results demonstrate that ERPs conventionally interpreted with respect to cognition and perception are in fact related to the kinematics of motor responses.



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