Currently Recruiting Children Ages 8-13
About Us

In the Sensorimotor Development Lab, our focus is in the area of motor development throughout the lifespan, specifically in the context of how infants and young children learn to interact with the surrounding environment. We predominantly study reaching and grasping — with an emphasis on how new behaviors and movement patterns emerge out of previous ones. Our research integrates the study of both perception and action by using kinematic analysis, biofeedback, and qualitative analysis. Our overall research goal is to understand the acquisition of fundamental motor skills and explore how these findings integrate with theories of motor learning and rehabilitation.

The effect of individualized feedback to motor skill acquisition
We are examining how different populations learn to control body-machine interfaces (BMI). Similar to brain-machine interfaces, BMIs establish a communication pathway between the body and an external device.
With practice, users can interact with a variety of devices by moving their body, allowing efficient patterns of control. We are using BMIs to address the question of whether we can facilitate goal-directed arm movements in children with typical and atypical motor development.

Fundamental motor skill acquisition
We are interested in how new behaviors and movement patterns emerge out of previous ones, specifically in the context of how spontaneous arm movements develop into goal-directed reaching and grasping movements. We are also examining the characteristics of spontaneous movement by using kinematic analysis, biofeedback, and qualitative analysis. Our overall goal is to characterize the developmental trajectories of typical and atypical motor development.

Selected Publications

Ranganathan, R., Lee, M-H., & Newell, K. M. (2020). Repetition without repetition: Challenges in understanding behavioral flexibility in motor skill. Frontiers in Psychology, 11: 2018.

Aspelund, S., Patel, P., Lee, M-H., Kagerer, F., Ranganathan, R., Mukherjee, R. (2020). Controlling a robotic arm for functional tasks using a wireless head-joystick: A case study of a child with congenital absence of upper and lower limbs. PLoS ONE,15 (8), e0226052.

Lee, M-H., Jayasinghe, S. (2020). Self-controlled practice and nudging during structural learning of a novel control interface. PLoS ONE 15 (4), e0223810.

Patel, P., Shi, Y., Hajiaghajani, F., Biswas, S., Lee, M-H. (2019). A novel two- body sensor system to study spontaneous movements in infants during caregiver physical contact. Infant Behavior and Development, 57, 101383.

Lee, M-H. (2019). Online and offline contributions to motor learning change with practice, but are similar across development. Experimental Brain Research, 237, 2865-2873.

Lee, M-H & Ranganathan, R. (2019). Age-related deficits in motor learning are associated with altered motor exploration strategies. Neuroscience, 412, 40-47.

Ranganathan, R., Lee, M-H., Padmanabhan, M.R., Aspelund, S., Kagerer, F., Mukherjee, R. (2019). Age-dependent differences in learning to control a robot arm using a body-machine interface. Scientific Reports, 9.

Lee, M-H., Farshchiansadegh, A., & Ranganathan, R. (2018). Children show limited movement repertoire when learning a novel motor skill. Developmental Science, 21, e12614.

Abdollahi, F., Farshchiansadegh, A., Pierella, C., Gonzalez, I.S., Thorp, E.B., Lee, M-H., Ranganathan, R., Pedersen, J.P., Chen, David., Roth, E. J., Casadio, M., & Mussa-Ivaldi, F.A., (2017). Body-Machine Interface enables people with chronic Spinal Cord Injury to take control with their available body movements. A proof of concept study. Neurorehabilitation & Neural Repair, 31, 487-493.

Comalli, D. M., Keen, R, Abraham, E., Foo, V., Lee, M-H., & Adolph, K.E. (2016). The development of tool use: Planning for end-state comfort. Developmental Psychology, 52, 1878-1892.

Lee, M-H., Ranganathan, R., Kagerer, F., & Mukherjee, R. (2016). Body-machine interface for control of a screen cursor for a child with congenital absence of upper and lower limbs: A case report. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, 13, 34.

Thorp, E. B, Adbollahi, F, Chen, D, Farshchiansadegh, A, Lee, M-H, & Pedersen, J. P., Pierella, C, Roth, E. J., Gonzalez, I. S., & Mussa-Ivaldi, F. A.,(2015). Upper Body-Based Power Wheelchair Control Interface for Individuals with Tetraplegia. IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, 99, 1-11.

Keen, R, Lee, M-H., & Adolph, K. E. (2014). Planning an action: A developmental progression in tool use. Ecological Psychology, 26, 98-108.

Lee, M-H., & Newell, K. M. (2013). Contingent Auditory feedback of arm movement facilitates reaching behavior in infancy. Infant Behavior and Development, 36, 817-824.

Lee, M-H., & Newell, K. M. (2012). Visual feedback of hand trajectory and the development of infant prehension. Infant Behavior and Development, 35, 273-279.

Ranganathan, R., Lee, M-H., Brown, A. J., & Newell, K. M. (2011). Grasping possibilities for action: Influence of object function and action capabilities. Human Movement Science, 30, 1102-1114.

Lee, M-H., Ranganathan, R., & Newell, K. M. (2011). Changes in object-oriented arm movements that precede the transition to goal-directed reaching in infancy. Developmental Psychobiology, 53, 685-693.

Lee, M-H., Bodfish, J. W., Lewis, M. H., & Newell K. M. (2010). Low dimensional temporal organization of spontaneous eye blinks in adults with developmental disabilities and stereotyped movement disorder. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 31, 250-255.

Hong, S.L., Lee, M-H., & Newell, K. M. (2007). Magnitude and structure of force variability: Mechanical and neurophysiological influences. Motor Control, 11, 119-135.

Lee, M-H., Liu, Y-T., & Newell, K. M. (2006). Longitudinal expressions of infants' prehension as a function of object properties. Infant Behavior and Development, 29, 481-493.
Lab Director

Mei-hua Lee, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Kinesiology
Michigan State University

Phone: 517-353-5395
Address: 308 W. Circle Dr. Room 201, East Lansing, MI 48824

Curriculum Vitae

Graduate Students

Priya Patel
Doctoral Student Email:

Jennifer Burns
Doctoral Student Email:

Research Assistants

Logan Ben-Ezra
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Stephanie Tran
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Autumn Bennett
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Amanda Lopez
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Previous Research Assistants
Tim Havern
Jenna Borchanian
Jaret Allred
Christian Poelstra
Claire Sickon
Sam Hoesch
Calvin Montgomery
Hannah Moote
Emily Matthews
Arielle Farhi
Emma Bizzigotti
Andrew Cusamano
Brittany Ladson
Danielle Puckett

Interested in joining the lab?
Prospective Graduate Students
We are looking for students with a background in motor development, behavioral science or developmental psychology. Prior experience with using motion analysis systems and familiarity with MATLAB is an added advantage. If you are interested in applying to the graduate program, please contact Dr. Lee with a description of your research interests.

Prospective Undergraduate Students
We also encourage undergraduate students to become actively involved in research projects in the lab. Typically undergraduate students will start off assisting with data collection and analysis. With more experience, they will have the opportunity to become more involved with the experimental design and writing process. In addition to experience with research, undergraduate students will have the opportunity to sharpen their programming and presentation skills. If you are interested in joining the lab, please fill in the application form and email it to Dr. Lee.

Emma and Brittany received first-place awards at the 2015 University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF)

Andrew,Emily and Danielle received first-place awards at the 2015 University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF)

Come participate in one of our studies!
Parents, if you are interested in participating in our studies with your child, please call us at 517-353-4652, or fill in the following form and we will be in touch!

Contact Us
Phone: 517-353-5395
Address: 308 W. Circle Dr. Room 21, East Lansing, MI 48824 (Google Map)

© Michigan State University Board of Trustees. East Lansing, MI 48824
MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer.