Cognitive Motor Control Laboratory


Research Interests

The Cognitive Motor Control Laboratory seeks to understand neurophysiology guiding skillful human-object interactions in upper extremity motor control. We use neuroimaging to identify anatomical and physiological circuits in humans that guide successful skilled behavior. Our clinical studies consider neural systems that can suffer injury or dysfunction related to deficits in skillful motor control, and how to utilize surrogate neural circuits in restorative motor therapies.

Research Opportunities

We welcome any undergraduate or graduate student, interested in understanding neurorehabilitaiton of upper or lower extremity motor tasks. Please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Wheaton about research opportunities in the lab.

Current Research Projects

We currently have two main research projects of study.

  • The first is to investigate how we associate objects and the movements that go along with these objects in the upper extremity. This work focuses on healthy subjects to establish neural patterns, then determine how these patterns change after stroke that results in a condition known as apraxia, a deficit of complex motor control. This uses EEG and MRI in order to capture neural patterns related to such cognitive motor tasks.


  • The second project involves neurorehabilitation driven approaches to improve adaptation of upper extremity prostheses. This involves multimodal recording of neural and biomechanics outcomes to identify novel ways to engage functional rehabilitation of prostheses based on action encoding therapies.


Recent Publications
Publication Abstracts, Google Scholar

Original Articles

  • Wheaton, L.A., Villagra, F., Hanley, D.F., Macko, RF and Forrester L.W. Reliability of TMS motor evoked potentials in quadriceps of subjects with chronic hemiparesis after stroke. J Neurol Sci; 2009; 276: 115-117.
  • Hattori, N., Shibasaki, H., Wheaton, L.A., Wu, T., Matsuhashi, M., & Hallett, M. Discrete parieto-frontal connectivity related to grasping objects. J Neurophysiol; 2009; 101: 1267-82.
  • Wheaton, L.A., Bohlhalter, S, Fridman, E., Vorbach, S., & Hallett, M. Left parietal cortex activation related to planning, executing, and suppressing praxis hand movements. Clin Neurophysiol; 2009; 120: 980–986.
  • Fridman, E., Crespo, M., Gomez Arguello, S, Villarreal, M, Bohlhalter, S., Wheaton, L. & Hallett, M. Kinematic improvement following Botulinum Toxin-A injection in upper limb spasticity due to stroke. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2010; 81: 423-427.
  • Mizelle, J.C. & Wheaton, L.A. Neural Activation for Conceptual Identification of Correct Versus Incorrect Tool-Object Pairs. Brain Research; 2010; 1354: 100-112.
  • Johnson, A; Wheaton, L.A., Shinohara, M. Attenuation of Corticomuscular Coherence with Additional Motor or Non-motor Task. Clin Neurophysiol; 2011; 122: 356-63.
  • Mizelle, J.C. & Wheaton, L.A. Testing perceptual limits of functional units: are there “automatic” tendencies to associate tools and objects? Neurosci Lett; 2011; 488: 92-96.
  • Mizelle, J.C. & Wheaton, L.A. Why is that hammer in my coffee: A multimodal imaging investigation of contextually-based tool understanding. Front. Hum. Neurosci; 2011; 4:233. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2010.00233.
  • Mizelle, J.C., Tang, T., Pirouz, N. & Wheaton, L.A. Forming tool-use representations: a neurophysiological investigation into tool exposure. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 2011; 23:10, pp. 2920–2934.
  • Borghi, A.M., Flumini, A., Natraj, N., Wheaton, L.A. One hand two objects: emergence of affordance in context. Brain and Cognition; 2012; 10: 64-73.
  • Cusack, W.F., Cope, M., Nathanson, S., Pirouz, N., Kistenberg, R., Wheaton, L.A. Neural activation differences in amputees during imitation of intact versus amputee movements. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 2012; 6: 182. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00182.
  • Natraj N., Poole V., Mizelle JC, Flumini A., Borghi A, Wheaton L.A. Context and Hand Posture Modulate the Neural Dynamics of Tool-Object Perception. Neuropsychologia, 2013, 51: 506-519.

Review Articles

  • Wheaton, L.A., Parietal Representations for Hand-Object Interactions. J. Neurosci 2007; 27: 969-970.
  • Wheaton, L.A. and Hallett, M. Ideomotor apraxia: a review. J Neurol Sci 2007; 260: 1-10.
  • Buxbaum LJ, Haaland KY, Hallett M, Wheaton L, Heilman KM, Rodriguez A, Gonzales-Rothi L. Treatment of limb apraxia: moving forward to improved action. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2008; 87(2): 149-161.
  • Forrester L.W., Wheaton, L.A., Luft A. Exercise-mediated locomotor recovery and lower extremity neuroplasticity after stroke. J Rehabil Res Dev; 45 (2): 205-220.