Sensory Motor Behavior Lab

Students working in a research laboratory

About the Lab

The general research of the Sensory Motor Behavior Laboratory concerns how we plan for and control movements that occur in sequence.


  • Rhythmic timing
  • Planning of grasping for object manipulation and joint-action
  • Continuous sensory-motor coupling
  • How are discrete and smooth movements planned and controlled differently?


  • Timed rhythmic movement (tapping and circle drawing)
  • Grasp and move/place tasks
  • Joint action (handing another person an object)
  • Isometric force production

Specific Projects: 

  • Sequential and joint-action planning in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Pioneering of a novel non-linear assessment of movement variability following mTBI (concussion)
  • Brain imaging of fluent and dis-fluent speech and timing in stutterers and non-stutterers using Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS)



Research Opportunities

If you are interested in pursuing a Masters or PhD with Dr. Studenka in the Sensory Motor Behavior Laboratory at USU, please contact Dr. Studenka.

If you are interested in becoming involved as an 
undergraduate researcher, please complete the required CITI training modules (so that you are eligible to work on Human Subjects Research in the lab), and contact Dr. Studenka with your name, goals, and availability for the semester.

Current Projects

Rhythmic Timing

We use kinematic analysis of table tapping and circle drawing as windows into the control of rhythmic movement.  

Current projects include:

  • The role of movement smoothness in the use of clock-like timing
  • The role of tactile and visual feedback in timing
  • The link between fine rhythmic movements (tapping and circle drawing) and gross rhythmic movements (walking and cycling)
  • The role of environment on temporal perception
Movement Planning

We are interested in understanding how far in advance movements are planned, and which constraints are used to determine which postures are adopted for sequential movements.

Current projects include:

  • The influence of temporal constraints on grasp planning
  • Grasp planning and social-motor interaction in children with Autism
  • Perceptions of postural stability based on balance experience
Isometric Force Tracking

The purpose of our research is to determine changes that occur in the structure of movements due to different experimental and environmental manipulations.  Additionally, we aim to determine if this structure changes with age, injury and/or disease.

Current projects include:

  • Assessment of gender differences in long-term concussion impairment
  • Development of a tablet tracking protocol for non-linear assessment of variability
  • Changes in non-linear aspects of behavior due to differing goal orientations and motivational climates

Labs and Facilities

The Sensory Motor Behavior Lab is currently housed in the room 119A of the HPER building.

Lab Equipment

Our six camera Vicon motion capture system allows us to capture movement in 3 dimensions.

Our six camera Vicon motion capture system allows us to capture movement in 3 dimensions.

Eye Tracker equipment

Two ASL eye trackers allow us to examine eye movement while participants track moving objects through space, or while participants walk through the environment.

Force transducer

Subjects track a moving target on a computer screen by pressing on a force transducer.

Children's toys

Observing how children handle tools when performing tasks or when handing the tool to another individual allows us to understand higher order motor planning.

Circuit boards

For projects that require us to travel offsite, we have devised a way to measure timing via MakeyMakey circuit boards and MatLab programing software.

Lab Facility


Please contact the lab director if you are interested in research opportunities within the Sensory Motor Behavior Lab, either as a study participant or as a research assistant.

Breanna  Studenka

Breanna Studenka

Associate Professor

Kinesiology and Health Science

Phone: 435-797-0109
Office Location: HPER 157