John F. Soechting, PhD

Professor Emeritus, Department of Neuroscience

John F. Soechting

Contact Info

Office Phone 612-625-7961

Professor Emeritus, Department of Neuroscience


Research Summary/Interests

Motor control neurophysiology

The grace of a basketball player or of a modern dancer has always fascinated me. How does the brain act to produce such skilled coordinated movements? We are far from answering these questions but my colleagues and I are working toward that goal by studying simpler movements which, I think, still capture the essentials of the problem of movements and coordination. We have been studying arm movements which require coordination of motion at the shoulder, elbow and wrist. Most of the work is done on human subjects and involves measuring motion in three dimensions and recording the activity of muscles which produce this motion. The nature of the problem has made this work highly interdisciplinary; we use techniques from psychology (psychophysics) and physiology to robotics and computer simulations. My approach has been to begin by studying behavior and to use a description of behavior to develop hypotheses concerning what the brain is doing to produce that behavior. The next step then is to test hypotheses by means of electrophysiological recording from behaving animals.


For a list of publications, see PubMed.