The Puzzle of Motor Learning


May 14, 2013


Society arguably admires motor skill above all other human achievements if the popularity of sports and action movies are anything to go by.
Despite this admiration, society also seems to rank the theoretical over the practical. Here I will discuss what recent research, including our own, has revealed about motor learning and motor skill, both at the behavioral and neural level. I will then discuss what we need to do to move our understanding forward.


John Krakauer

Dr. Krakauer received his bachelor’s and master’s degree from Cambridge University, and his medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons where he was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. After completing an internship in Internal Medicine at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, he returned to Columbia University for his residency in Neurology at the Neurological Institute of New York. He subsequently completed a research fellowship in motor control in the Center of Neurobiology and Behavior at Columbia and a clinical fellowship in stroke at the Neurological Institute at Columbia University Medical Center.

Areas of research interest: (1) Experimental and computational studies of motor control and motor learning in humans (2) Tracking long-term motor skill learning and its relation to higher cognitive processes such as decision making. (3) Prediction of motor recovery after stroke (4) Mechanisms of spontaneous motor recovery after stroke in humans and in mouse models (5) New neuro-rehabilitation approaches for patients in the first 3 months after stroke.

Dr. Krakauer’s clinical interest is stroke, including ischemic cerebrovascular disease, subarachnoid and intracerebral hemorrhage, arteriovenous malformations, cerebral vasculitis, cerebral aneurysms, and sinus thrombosis.

He is currently Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Director of the Brain, Learning, Animation, and Movement Lab (