Contact Information


Rajiv Ranganathan, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Kinesiology
Department of Mechanical Engineering
IM Sports Circle
308 W Circle Dr Rm 203
Michigan State University
Tel: 517-353-6491
Fax: 517-353-2944
Email: rajiv.ranganathan AT gmail DOT com
(Replace AT and DOT by the corresponding characters)



My new academic webpage can be found at: http://sites.google.com/site/motrelab/

About Me

I am a researcher interested in the control of human movement. After completing a Bachelors degree in Engineering, I received my MS and PhD degrees in Kinesiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and  Pennsylvania State University. After my PhD, I did a postdoc at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.  I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Kinesiology/Mechanical Engineering departments at Michigan State University.

 

Research Interests

My primary research interest is to examine how humans deal with the problem of motor redundancy and motor variability.  Anyone who has tried their hand at playing darts understands the frustration of trying to repeat the same movement twice.  This problem of variability in the motor system is however partly offset by the fact there is redundancy (i.e., there are usually multiple ways to achieve most tasks).  This feature of motor redundancy allows the motor system to be variable, and yet be successful at accomplishing the goal.

I am currently investigating how humans deal with variability and redundancy during motor learning.  A related more practical approach is to see if inducing variability during practice can actually facilitate learning by helping participants be more flexible in achieving the task goal.

A second line of research that I am interested in is the area of how perceptual information is integrated in the control of action.  Whether it be relatively simple motor actions like grasping an object or extremely complex time-constrained actions (e.g., striking the ball in sports like tennis and baseball), the ability of the nervous system to regulate motor responses based on perceptual information is critical to success at the task. As part of my master’s thesis, I have investigated how baseball batters pick up on information about ball speed from the pitcher and ball flight.  

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