Charles E. Wright

picture of Charles E. Wright

Associate Professor, Cognitive Sciences
School of Social Sciences

PH.D., University of Michigan
M.A.,, University of Michigan

Fax: (949) 824-2307

University of California, Irvine
2554 Social & Behavioral Sciences
Mail Code: 5100
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
Cognitive psychology, human motor control, Fitts task, aimed movements, handwriting, immersive virtual reality, 1/f noise, quantitative models.
Research Abstract
Until the last two years, the main goal of my research was to develop a quantitative understanding of the cognitive mechanisms necessary to learn and carry out skilled movements. The main body of this research addresses the central questions of motor-program representation and generalizability.

Lashley, over 40 years ago, made the point that component movements in skilled performance are too rapid, and too dependent on upcoming component movements to be described as learned responses to stimulus input. There must be a detailed, central representation of the movement plan that generates appropriately coordinated component movements. One obvious question concerns the nature of these representations. A second question is whether and how, having become skilled at one movement, we can transfer the information learned to a related but different movement. Thus, does motor learning take the form of generalized specifications involving abstract elements or is this learning embodied in separate representations that, because they have been developed to solve related motor problems, share many features.

I have studied these issues using handwriting, rhythmic performance, aimed hand movements, and bimanual movements. The pursuit of these basic research questions has also led me to several applied research projects involving clinical populations (patients with Alzheimer's dementia, Parkinson's disease, and focal dystonia of the hand) and handwriting pedagogy.

In addition to this research, during the last two years, I have devoted much of my time to a new collaboration, with Charlie Chubb, studying visual psychophysics based on our ability to plan and control movements rather than the traditional methods of detection and discrimination. The impetus for this research comes from differences in the processing done by and the visual projections to the ventral and dorsal processing streams.
Wright, C. E., Marino, V. F., Chubb, C., and Rose, K. A. (In press). Exploring Attention-Based Explanations for Some Violations of Hick’s Law for Aimed Movements. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics.
Wright, C. E., Marino, V. F., Belovsky, S. A, & Chubb, C. (2007). Visually-guided, aimed movements can be unaffected by stimulus-response uncertainty. Experimental Brain Research, 179, 475-496.
Bosworth, R.G., Wright, C.E., Bartlett, M.S., Corina, D.P., & Dobkins, K.R. (2003). Characterization of the visual properties of signs in ASL. In A. E. Baker, B. van den Bogaerde & O. Crasborn (Eds), Cross-linguistic perspectives in sign language research. Selected papers from TISLR 2000 (pp. 265-282). Hamburg: Signum Press.
States, R. A. & Wright, C. E. (2001). The interplay of biomechanical constraints and kinematic strategies in selecting arm postures. Journal of Motor Behavior, 3, 165-179.
Lindemann, P. G. & Wright, C. E. (1998). Skill acquisition and plans for actions: Learning to write with your other hand. In Sternberg, S. & Scarborough, D. (Eds.), Invitation to Cognitive Science, vol. 4 (pp. 523-584). MIT Press.
Wright, C. E. & Lindemann, P. G. (1995) Generalization of motor representations for handwriting: What is learned when learning to write with the non-dominant hand. In Simner, Marvin L. (Ed.), Basic and Applied Issues in Handwriting and Drawing Research, (pp. 170-171). Nijmegan, The Netherlands: International Graphonomics Society.
Collier, G. L. & Wright C. E. (1995). Generalized motor programs, temporal rescaling, and simple rhythmic performance. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 21, 602-627.
Wright, C. E. (1993). Evaluating the special role of time in the control of writing. Acta Psychologica, 82, 5-52.
Wright, C. E. (1990). Generalized motor programs: Reevaluating claims of effector independence. In M. Jeannerod (Ed.),"Attention and Performance XIII: Motor Representation and Control" (Chapter 9, pp. 294-320). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Meyer, D. E., Abrams, R. A., Kornblum, S., Wright, C. E., and Smith, J. E. K. (1988) Optimality in Human Motor Performance: Ideal Control of Rapid Aimed Movements. Psychological Review, 95, 340-370.
Meyer, D. E., Smith, J. E. K., & Wright, C. E. (1982) Relations between the speed and accuracy of aimed limb movements. Psychological Review, 82, 449-482.
Sternberg, S., Monsell, S., Knoll, R. L., & Wright, C. E. (1978) The latency and duration of rapid movement sequences: Comparisons of speech and typing. In G. E. Stelmach (Ed.), Information processing in motor control and learning (Chap. 6, pp. 118 - 152). New York: Academic Press. Reprinted in R. A. Cole (Ed.), Perception and production of fluent speech (Chap. 15, pp. 469-505). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1980.
Professional Societies
Psychonomic Society
International Association for the Study of Attention and Performance
International Graphonomics Society
American Psychological Association
American Psychological Society
Research Center
Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences
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