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Smita Gopalakrishnan

Hometown: Tempe, Arizona | Graduation Date: Spring 2020
Biomedical Engineering

Assessing the Ability of Startle to Predict Learning Retention

Mentor: Claire Honeycutt
FURI: Spring 2018

The ability to learn and retain new motor tasks is essential to everyday life; however, the neural mechanisms governing this process are poorly understood to date. Recent evidence demonstrates that a shift from cortical to subcortical structures occurs during procedural task learning, detected by startle-evoked movement (SEM). The objective of this study is to determine if SEM presence can predict learning retention. Subjects are trained on a novel finger movement and analyzed after one month to examine retention. This research has future implications for enhancing motor performance of older adults and patient populations who struggle with learning or retaining learning.