Connecting movement and cognition through different modes of learning

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter introduces movement and its sensation as a fundamental ingredient of all forms of learning and self-motivation. Taken from the vantage point of the neuromotor control systems, the chapter describes two modes of learning. An exploratory mode aligns well with spontaneous movements that capture and differentiate contextual variations of any task at hand. In contrast, an error-corrective mode aligns well with the class of movements that are deliberately aimed at a goal. While the latter drives the system through task-relevant dimensions defined by the goal, the former drives the system through complementary task-incidental dimensions capturing contextual variations that emerge from changes in the environment and conditions in which the same biomechanical task is resolved. By having at least these two learning modes, from neonatal stages to adulthood, the brain can ensure that what is learned in one environment transfers and generalizes to another environment. Several examples are presented across the human lifespan and for both neurotypical and atypical nervous systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPsychology of Learning and Motivation - Advances in Research and Theory
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Publication series

NamePsychology of Learning and Motivation - Advances in Research and Theory
ISSN (Print)0079-7421

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


  • Error corrective learning
  • Exploratory learning
  • Intentional motions
  • Kinesthetic reafference
  • Neuromotor control
  • Spontaneous motions


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