Spring 2019 - BPK 415 D100

Neural Control of Movement (3)

Class Number: 4359

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 3 – Apr 8, 2019: Tue, Thu, 8:30–10:20 a.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 11, 2019
    Thu, 8:30–11:30 a.m.

  • Instructor:

    Daniel Marigold
    1 778 782-3499
  • Prerequisites:

    BPK 306 or BISC 305.



An in depth study of the neurophysiology of movement. Illustrates general principles of neural control by exploring specific movement tasks including standing, walking, reaching/grasping, and eye movements.


Lectures: 2 hrs x 2/week
Topics To Be Covered:

1. Fundamental concepts related to movement control

a. Neural communication, and general spinal and supraspinal organization
b. Neural recording and brain manipulation techniques
c. Timing, force, and coordination control (cerebellum and basal ganglia contribution)
d. Proprioception (body and limb awareness)
e. Coordinate frame encoding by neurons
f. Motion processing
2. Neural control of eye movements
a. Types of eye movements
b. Eye-head coordination
c. Brainstem and cortical regions involved
3. Neural control of standing balance
a. Definition and goals of standing balance
b. Recovery responses to perturbations of standing balance
c. Sensory contribution (visual, vestibular, somatosensory)
d. Anticipatory postural control
4. Neural control of walking
a. Fundamental principles of the neural control of walking
b. Role of sensory feedback (visual, vestibular, somatosensory)
c. Supraspinal contribution (emphasis on cortical involvement)
d. Spatial navigation
5. Neural control of reaching and grasping movements
a. Characteristics of reaching and grasping movements
b. Sensory contribution (visual and proprioceptive)
c. Cortical neuron encoding characteristics related to reaching and grasping
6. Internal models for the control of movement
a. Concept and organization of internal models
b. Neural correlates of internal models


  1. Integrate information regarding sensorimotor brain areas to explain how we perform specific movements
  2. Use research examples to explain how a particular part of the nervous system is involved in the control of a specific movement (this includes the ability to interpret results of an experimental manipulation that illustrates the point) 
  3. Explain why certain neurological disorders present with specific signs and symptoms
  4. Design experiments to test hypotheses regarding the role of a particular brain region in the control of movement
  5. Suggest, and substantiate using research evidence on the neural control of movement, rehabilitation methods to treat neurological disorders and those at high risk of falls


  • Midterm Exam 25%
  • Blog Assignments 20%
  • Integrative Assignment 20%
  • Final Exam 35%






Department Undergraduate Notes:

It is the responsibility of the student to keep their BPK course outlines if they plan on furthering their education.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html