Preview: Movement 2017 in Oxford

An international conference is taking place between 9-11 July in Oxford, UK on the topic of the interaction between Movement and Cognition. The fields of Medicine, Rehabilitation Sciences, Physiotherapy, Psychology, Occupational Therapy, Sports and Exercise science, and even the field of the Science of the Dance are represented by the over 240 speakers at the conference representing numerous universities from around the world including, Harvard, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Weizmann Institute, DePaul University, University of the Medical Science of Havana, University of Bielefeld, Manchester and others.

The underlying premise is that we surmise humans have a unique ability to harness gravitational forces as a direct result of the existence of the upright position. The basis of the continuance of this genetic mutation is based on the notion that bipedalism had created larger pools of neurons. It is argued that the same evolutionary process has allowed us to develop the binding of the motor system into synchronous, rhythmic, purposeful movement, which expanded to eventually allow for cognitive binding and consciousness. Postural muscles, we claim, were the main conduit for this motor and cognitive binding to evolve and continue to exist. Postural activity in childhood harms natural exploration of the surrounding, thereby reducing the ability to learn from experiences, and leading to developmental delays. Thus, deviations from normal postural development or from normal levels of postural activity can disrupt or delay cerebellar and cortical maturation and may disrupt the underlying oscillatory timing mechanisms on which motor and cognitive binding is based. As a result, cognition, more likely, evolved secondarily and in parallel to the evolution of human upright bipedalism. Although viewed as separate functions historically, it can be argued that complex motricity and cognition are function-ally connected, and both evolved in parallel, interdependently.

The conference explores these interactions from an interdisciplinary point of view to begin to create a comprehensive understanding or the nature of the human connectome in the context of movement and cognition. The applications are as varied as how movement affects learning within the school system, imagery as a movement stimulus to those who are immobile, to cognitive feedback mechanisms in the treatment of Parkinson’s to the preparation of elite athletes.

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Enquiries on scientific matters may be addressed to Prof. Gerry Lensman, and registration to