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Motor Behavior Lab

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Enhancing human motor ability.

The Motor Behavior Lab conducts cutting-edge research in motor control, motor learning, skill acquisition and biomechanics. Its research aims to enhance our theoretical understanding of human movement while also providing practical insights.

The ultimate objective is to improve motor skill performance and learning by developing innovative training methods applicable in areas such as athletic performance enhancement, injury prevention and movement rehabilitation.



TCU Rickel Academic Wing
Room 037

Lab Members


Adam KingKing earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Concordia University in Chicago, where he balanced academics with Division III football. After graduation, he delved into professional roles as a performance specialist and later transitioned to fitness management. Seeking a new direction, he pursued graduate studies, earning both his master of science and doctorate from Pennsylvania State University, eventually joining Truman State University in Missouri as faculty in its Exercise and Health Sciences Department.

Outside of his academic endeavors, he enjoys nature, though he avoids the intense Texas heat. Mountain biking is his favored pastime, although he jokingly admits to staying grounded on his rides. Hiking with his wife and dog is another cherished activity, although he acknowledges his wife’s tennis prowess, often ending in her victory.

He holds a profound appreciation for “Shawshank Redemption,” particularly resonating with Morgan Freeman’s memorable line, “Get busy living or get busy dying.” When it comes to desserts, warm brownies with vanilla ice cream are his ultimate indulgence, while the combination of peanut butter and chocolate remains a guilty pleasure.

Morteza FarivarFarivar is from Sabzevar, Iran and his interest in kinesiology sparked from his experiences assessing and rehabilitating mobility issues in various neuro-musculo-skeletal conditions and the elderly. This fascination with human movement and the science behind physical activity and health drove him to pursue a Ph.D. at TCU. 

His research primarily delves into interlimb coordination in older adults and neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease during walking, alongside a focus on cross-education and fatigue. 

His favorite movie is “Scent of a Woman,” captivated by its compelling narrative and Al Pacino’s outstanding performance. The exploration of themes like integrity and personal growth deeply resonates with him, reflecting his own values and perspectives. His favorite dessert is classic Italian tiramisu, and enjoys music and swimming, activities that offer him a refreshing counterbalance to his academic pursuits, keeping him grounded and balanced.

Andrew BrizellBrizell is from Mundelein, Ill., and grew up immersed in sports and physical activities, developing a keen awareness of proprioception and the intricacies of controlling his own body movements. As a gymnast, mastering skills like the press-handstand and back layout required a deep understanding of movement efficiency. Transitioning to distance running, a personal injury prompted a closer examination of his running mechanics. These experiences ignited his passion for kinesiology, as he delved into biomechanics, efficiency and avenues for improvement.

In his research pursuits, he’s specifically interested in identifying optimal movement patterns, particularly in running mechanics, seeking to understand how these patterns vary based on individual traits and how individuals can be trained to achieve them for success in daily life or athletics.

His favorite movie, “The Princess Bride,” holds a special place in his heart for its universal appeal and witty writing, often quoting lines from it with his family. When it comes to dessert, he has a weakness for brownies. And on days when he needs a pick-me-up, he indulges in binge-watching mini docuseries on Netflix as a guilty pleasure.

Megorden is from San Diego and began strength training in high school to enhance his skills in lacrosse, sparking a deep fascination with strength and conditioning. Inspired by his strength coaches, he was encouraged to study kinesiology in college with a focus on strength and conditioning that has remained consistent.

In his research endeavors, he is particularly intrigued by the fundamentals of gait and the constraints involved in motor learning. Exploring how physical constraints can be manipulated to create optimal training environments excites him.

Among his favorite movies is “Remember the Titans,” admiring its portrayal of sports’ unifying power across racial divides. When it comes to dessert, he indulges in peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream. And on days when he needs a break, his guilty pleasure is relaxing and watching a movie.

Haden RayRay is from Plano, Texas and his interest in kinesiology grew through his involvement in sports, particularly gymnastics. With a vision of a career intertwined with athletics, his deepening understanding of the body’s movements has solidifie3d during his college years.

In his research pursuits, Ray is driven by an inherent curiosity nurtured through his sports experiences and is particularly fascinated by the relationship between the mind and body, he delves into the process of learning motor skills, focusing on fine motor skills and their psychological underpinnings. His ultimate goal is to provide insights beneficial for athletes in training and relevant in clinical contexts, including rehabilitation and neurodegenerative diseases.

His favorite movie, “Forrest Gump,” captivates him with its humor and heartwarming story, making it an irresistible favorite. He indulges in cookie dough ice cream and he can't resist muffins.

Hannah VandergriffVandergriff is from Plano, Texas and became interested in kinesiology from lifelong engagement in sports, motivating her to explore the workings of the human body and its interconnectedness.

In her research endeavors, she focuses on understanding movement patterns to minimize injuries and enhance efficiency. Additionally, she delves into rehabilitation techniques, examining how the body relearns movements post-injury.

“Guardians of the Galaxy 2” holds a special place as her favorite movie, captivating her with its action-packed storyline. She likes to indulge in carrot cake and can’t resist the temptation of chips and salsa.

Lab Equipment

The Motor Behavior Lab utilizes state-of-the-art equipment including:

  • Qualisys motor capture system: eight Miqus cameras and AMTI (OR6-7) force platform
  • 12-channel wireless Delsys EMG system
  • Two adapters for embow and knee angle goniometer
  • Balance apparatus: Y-balance, angled platform and wobble discs
  • Qualisys Tracm Manager
  • Delsys EMGworks
  • Matlab
  • Visual 3D

Current Projects

Studying how balance is affected by factors like age and injuries can help lower the risk of falls and improve rehabilitation methods. 

  • Balance in Children with Cochlear Implants: Because the vestibular system is crucial for balance, it’s essential to know how children with hearing devices, like cochlear implants, maintain their posture. This study aims to explore how different levels of hearing loss affect static and dynamic balance in children with and without normal hearing. Balance is assessed using three methods: the BOT-2 test, Y-balance test and standing balance measured by a force plate.
  • Postural Control with Feedback: Manipulating what you see can change how you control your posture. This study looks at a new feedback system designed to offer more personalized postural control training. We're testing its reliability and effectiveness, measuring different aspects of postural control in both still and moving positions. The goal is to eventually use this system to help treat lower body injuries.

Understanding the underlying mechanism of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and how exercise reduces motor impairments is essential to helping those living with Parkinson’s have a better quality of life.

  • Punching Out Parkinson’s: Exercise is proven to help slow down the progression of PD. However, we need to understand more about what types of exercise and programs are most beneficial for people with PD. In this study, we’re monitoring how people with PD improve over time while participating in a non-contact boxing exercise program each week. We’re looking at various aspects of their health, including breathing, movement, balance and how their nervous system controls their muscles.
  • Walking Mechanics of Older Adults and People Living with Parkinson’s Disease: It’s important for people with PD to stay independent as the disease progresses, especially since they will often face mobility and walking issues. So, spotting early signs of motor problems in how they walk can really help, allowing for specific rehabilitation treatments to be used when they're needed most.

Motor learning affects how people both learn new skills and re-learn them after injury. Various methods are used in motor learning settings and our aim is to figure out what factors make learning skills most effective.

  • Differential Learning: This is a training method that doesn’t rely on repeating the same movements over and over. Instead, it uses different variations to help people learn better movement patterns. We’re using this approach with the standing broad jump task and looking into other ways it can be used with different motor skills.