Control of Movement

The Control of Movement research group is mainly interested in Volitional control of actions and sensorimotor integration.

Volitional control of actions

The brain constitutes a sophisticated “machinery” for selecting and performing those movements that are most appropriate given the behavioral context. Some actions are highly overlearned and routinely applied. Other actions are non-routine, require detailed monitoring and engage cognitive control. Unravelling the complex mechanisms through which the brain selects and controls volitional actions is a main research focus of our group. Computational models of learning and decision-making are used to infer the computational mechanisms that the brain employs. Research includes studies on the neural underpinnings of response selection and inhibition, motor learning, and automatization of overlearned movements. 

Sensorimotor integration

Delineating the brain’s role as interface between our senses and our actions is a second main line of our research into human motor control: In the brain, sensory and motor systems are tightly interwoven, resulting in numerous interactions. A key function of the brain is to integrate immediate sensory information into well-planned motor actions while also taking the situational context, previous experiences and the predictions about the future into account: Our senses inform our actions. At the same time, movements produce sensory input themselves: We sense our actions and the outcomes they produce. 

In our research, we wish to shed light on the nature of the reciprocal interactions among sensory and motor processes in the brain. We wish to clarify how these interactions enable us to make predictions about the outcome of our actions and support the acquisition of sensorimotor skills. 

How we work

The Control of Movement group is headed by Professor Hartwig Roman Siebner. The group adopts a triple-M approach to decipher the causal neuro-dynamics in sensorimotor brain networks by combining multimodal brain MAPPING with computational MODELLING and non-invasive MODULATION of sensorimotor networks.

The Control of Movement group meets every week for one and a half hours, alternating between lectures on a topic chosen by the appointed group member and a journal club. Both the lectures and the articles discussed in the journal club address different topics related to the control of movement.

The Control of Movement group closely interacts with the NeuroPhysics, Precision Neuromodulation and Therapy, Computational Neuroimaging, and Movement Disorders groups. From 2011 to 2016, the group was called Control-of-Action or “ContAct” group and was funded by a large grant from the Lundbeck Foundation who awarded a “Grant of Excellence” to Hartwig Siebner. Additional funding was granted by the Danish Research Council for Independent Research. 

Selected Publications

Dogonowski AM, Andersen KW, Sellebjerg F, Schreiber K, Madsen KH, Siebner HR (2019) Functional neuroimaging of recovery from motor conversion disorder: A case report. Neuroimage 190:269-74.

Karabanov AN, Irmen F, Madsen KH, Haagensen BN, Schulze S, Bisgaard T, Siebner HR (2019) Getting to grips with endoscopy - Learning endoscopic surgical skills induces bi-hemispheric plasticity of the grasping network. Neuroimage 189:32-44.

Maigaard K, Nejad AB, Andersen KW, Herz DM, Hagstrøm J, Pagsberg AK, Skov L, Siebner HR*, Plessen KJ* (2019) A superior ability to suppress fast inappropriate responses in children with Tourette syndrome is further improved by prospect of reward. Neuropsychologia 131:342-52. * Both authors contributed equally to the paper.

Raffin E, Siebner HR (2019) Use-dependent plasticity in human primary motor hand area: Synergistic interplay between training and immobilization. Cereb Cortex 29:356-71.

Dubbioso, R., Raffin, E., Karabanov, A., Thielscher, A. & Siebner, H. R. Centre-surround organization of fast sensorimotor integration in human motor hand area. NeuroImage. 158, p. 37-47, 2017.

Karabanov, A. N., Ritterband-Rosenbaum, A., Christensen, M. S., Siebner, H. R. & Nielsen, J. B. Modulation of fronto-parietal connections during the rubber hand illusion. European Journal of Neuroscience. 45, 7, p. 964-974, 2017.

Andersen, K. W., Madsen, K. H. & Siebner, H. R. Rock-paper-scissors - Hand gestures show multivariate pattern representations in the human brain. 2017.

Angstmann, S., Madsen, K. S., Skimminge, A., Jernigan, T. L., Baaré, W. F. C. & Siebner, H. R. Microstructural asymmetry of the corticospinal tracts predicts right-left differences in circle drawing skill in right-handed adolescents. Brain structure & function.

Gelskov, S. V., Henningsson, S., Madsen, K. H., Siebner, H. R. & Ramsøy, T. Z. Amygdala signals subjective appetitiveness and aversiveness of mixed gambles. Cortex. 66, p. 81-90, 2015.

Meder, D., Haagensen, B. N., Hulme, O., Morville, T., Gelskov, S., Herz, D. M., Diomsina, B., Madsen, K. H., Siebner, H. Tuning the Brake while Raising the Stake: Network Dynamics during Sequential Decision-Making.  Journal of Neuroscience, 136, 36, p. 5417-5426, 2016.

Meder, D., Madsen, K. H., Hulme, O., Siebner, H. R. Chasing probabilities — Signaling negative and positive prediction errors across domains. Neuroimage, 134, 19, p.  180-191, 2016.

Raffin, E., Pellegrino, G., Di Lazzaro, V., Thielscher, A. & Siebner, H. R. Bringing transcranial mapping into shape: Sulcus-aligned mapping captures motor somatotopy in human primary motor hand area. NeuroImage. 120, p. 164-175, 2015.

Stanek, K.  Inferring human intentions from the brain data. PhD-Thesis. Technical University of Denmark, Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, Kongens Lyngby, Denmark,  2016.

Group Members

Hartwig R. Siebner

Group Leader

David Meder

Janine Kesselheim

Christopher Fugl Madelung

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External Collaborators

PostDoc Estelle Raffin

Fonctions Cérébrales et Neuromodulation, Université Joseph Fourier & Inserm, U836, Grenoble Institut des Neurosciences, Grenoble, France


Prof. Olivier David

Fonctions Cérébrales et Neuromodulation, Université Joseph Fourier & Inserm, U836, Grenoble Institut des Neurosciences, Grenoble, France


Assoc. Prof. Mark Schram Christensen

Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen and Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, University of Copenhagen.


Prof.  Jens Bo Nielsen

Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen and Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, University of Copenhagen.


Prof. Torsten Dau

Hearing Systems Group, Department of Electrical Engineering,Technical University of Denmark, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark