About Me

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Hi! My name’s Danny Leach and I’m a PhD student studying Psychology at Leeds Beckett University. My PhD is titled, The Behavioural and Neural Dynamics of Learning a Novel Movement.

My research focuses on understanding the mechanisms behind learning from a perception-action approach. I study these mechanisms using Coordinated Rhythmic Movement (CRM).

My work builds directly on the perception-action research of Geoffrey Bingham, Winona Snapp-Childs and Andrew D Wilson. Their research includes detailed modelling of CRM and an ecologically valid coordination feedback.

My first round of experiments aims to establish whether learning using an ecologically valid coordination feedback will transfer to coordinations that are similar in terms of this visual information. Participants are trained at 90°. We test the performance at 90° and a variety of other relative phases (0°, 30°, 60°, 120°, 150° and 180°) before and after training, then two weeks later for retention. Our initial hypothesis is that relative position might support skilled performance at some of these coordinations, most likely those within 45° of the trained relative phase.

An interesting finding that has come out of the perception-action literature is ‘the 50s cliff’. In which, learning rates plummet to half after the age of 50.  The second round of experiments aims to address this by recruiting an aged sample and comparing these findings to the younger sample from our earlier experiments.

Lastly, I am particularly interested in how neural stimulation might facilitate learning. To investigate this, I will use transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS). The jury is still out on what effect tDCS has on the learning process (if any). With this in mind this PhD will use our CRM paradigm as a test bed for the efficacy of tDCS, whilst coordinating with experts from the world of neural stimulation to ensure a high standard of research.

I will be working closely with my supervisors Dr. Andrew D Wilson and Dr. Zoe Kolokotroni over the next 4 years and to a greater extent the Cognition in Action Lab group. I have a great team behind me and I’m up for the challenge. So, bring it on!

If you have any questions,

email me at: d.p.leach@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

or find me on twitter @rhythmicpsych

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