Motor Control

The Motor Control research group is mainly interested in  Volitional control of actions and SENSE and MOVE (sensorimotor integration)

Volitional control of actions

The brain constitutes a sophisticated “machinery” for selecting and performing those movements that are most appropriate given the behavioral context. Some actions are highly overlearned and routinely applied. Other actions are non-routine, require detailed monitoring and engage cognitive control. Unravelling the complex mechanisms through which the brain selects and controls volitional actions is a main research focus of our group. Research includes studies on the neural underpinnings of response selection and inhibition, motor learning, and automatization of overlearned movements. 

SENSE and MOVE: sensorimotor integration

Delineating the brain’s role as interface between our senses and our actions is a second main line of our research into human motor control: In the brain, sensory and motor systems are tightly interwoven, resulting in numerous interactions. A key function of the brain is to integrate immediate sensory information into well-planned motor actions while also taking the situational context, previous experiences and the predictions about the future into account: Our senses inform our actions. At the same time, movements produce sensory input themselves: We sense our actions and the outcomes they produce. 

In our research, we wish to shed light on the nature of the reciprocal interactions among sensory and motor processes in the brain. We wish to clarify how these interactions enable us to make predictions about the outcome of our actions and support the acquisition of sensorimotor skills. 

The Motor Control group is headed by Professor Hartwig Roman Siebner. The group adopts a triple-M approach to decipher the causal neuro-dynamics in sensorimotor brain networks by combining multimodal brain MAPPING with computational MODELLING and non-invasive MODULATION of sensorimotor networks.

In our research projects, we address key questions regarding human sensorimotor control: 

  • Cognitive control of actions (Volition and motivation, Action selection and inhibition)
  • Perception, multisensory and sensorimotor integration 
  • Skill learning and sensorimotor plasticity
  • Dexterity (manual motor proficiency) and handedness (preferred use of  a hand)
  • Bimanual motor control
  • Advanced transcranial stimulation of premotor and primary motor cortex 

The Motor Control group closely interacts with the NeuroPhysics, NeuroPhyisology, Computational Modelling and Analysis, and Movement Disorders groups. The group has received major funding from 2011 to 2016 from the Lundbeck Foundation who awarded a “Grant of Excellence” to Hartwig Siebner (LINK). Additional funding was granted by the Danish Research Council for Independent Research. 

Associated Publications

Angstmann, S., Madsen, K. S., Skimminge, A., Jernigan, T. L., Baaré, W. F. C. & Siebner, H. R. Microstructural asymmetry of the corticospinal tracts predicts right-left differences in circle drawing skill in right-handed adolescents. Brain structure & function.

Gelskov, S. V., Henningsson, S., Madsen, K. H., Siebner, H. R. & Ramsøy, T. Z. Amygdala signals subjective appetitiveness and aversiveness of mixed gambles. Cortex. 66, p. 81-90, 2015.

Meder, D., Haagensen, B. N., Hulme, O., Morville, T., Gelskov, S., Herz, D. M., Diomsina, B., Madsen, K. H., Siebner, H. Tuning the Brake while Raising the Stake: Network Dynamics during Sequential Decision-Making.  Journal of Neuroscience, 136, 36, p. 5417-5426, 2016.

Meder, D., Madsen, K. H., Hulme, O., Siebner, H. R. Chasing probabilities — Signaling negative and positive prediction errors across domains. Neuroimage, 134, 19, p.  180-191, 2016.

Raffin, E., Pellegrino, G., Di Lazzaro, V., Thielscher, A. & Siebner, H. R. Bringing transcranial mapping into shape: Sulcus-aligned mapping captures motor somatotopy in human primary motor hand area. NeuroImage. 120, p. 164-175, 2015.

Stanek, K.  Inferring human intentions from the brain data. PhD-Thesis. Technical University of Denmark, Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, Kongens Lyngby, Denmark,  2016.

Group Members

Hartwig R. Siebner

Group Leader

Anke Ninija Karabanov

Senior Researcher

David Meder


Jens Hjortkjær


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External Collaborators

PostDoc Estelle Raffin

Fonctions Cérébrales et Neuromodulation, Université Joseph Fourier & Inserm, U836, Grenoble Institut des Neurosciences, Grenoble, France

Prof. Olivier David

Fonctions Cérébrales et Neuromodulation, Université Joseph Fourier & Inserm, U836, Grenoble Institut des Neurosciences, Grenoble, France

Assoc. Prof. Mark Schram Christensen

Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen and Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, University of Copenhagen.

Prof.  Jens Bo Nielsen

Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen and Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, University of Copenhagen.

Prof. Torsten Dau

Hearing Systems Group, Department of Electrical Engineering,Technical University of Denmark, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark