Mark Schram Christensen Lab

The overall purpose of the lab is to understand sensorimotor interactions in the central nervous system of humans, and how sensorimotor interactions serves as the foundations for cognitive functions. We study basic motor neurophysiology and higher order cognitive phenomena in humans.

Group leader

Associate Professor Mark Schram Christensen

Department of Neuroscience
The Panum Institute, room 33-3

E-mail: markc@sund.ku.dk

Research Focus

Cognitive motor neuroscience
The only way humans and other animals can interact with the environment is through movement. Therefore we, in the Christensen lab, work under an assumption that all higher order brain functions rest upon a foundation of sensorimotor interaction with the environment. During infancy the fundamental sensorimotor interactions are developed, and through these interactions the foundation of understanding how actions have an impact on the environment is learned. This fundamental sensorimotor interaction is key to understand the development of higher order cognitive functions.

The primary aim of the Christensen lab is to understand the mechanisms underlying cognitive development in infants. We want to understand these mechanisms in order to detect early deficits in the development of cognitive functions in children at risk of developing cerebral palsy.

In order to achieve this goal, it is of paramount importance to understand the integration of basic motor control theory and higher order cognitive processes. In the Schram Christensen lab we study fundamental processes underlying perception of one's own movements and motor awareness, in particular the ability and experience of being in control of one's own actions (sense of agency). We focus on the brain's ability to use predictions to inform the sensory system about ongoing movements. These predictions seem to influence conscious perception of movements and may be responsible for our sensation of control. This also touch upon the question of the function of consciousness.

We address these questions by combining motor and cognitive tests either in real world settings or in virtual reality with advanced non-invasive electrophysiological (TMS, EEG) and imaging techniques (fMRI) in combination with advanced signal processing analyses and mathematical modelling of brain-body networks.

The studies that we conduct in the Christensen lab are developed and conducted in collaboration with researchers from philosophy, psychology, engineering, the humanities as well as therapists, medical doctors and the health sciences both nationally and internationally. For example of such a collaboration, please visit: Cognition, Intention and Action group.

Current work

Focus of the Christensen lab is on understanding the neural mechanisms underlying human control of movements. We focus on the brain's ability to use predictions to inform the sensory system about ongoing movements.
These predictions seem to influence conscious perception of movements and may be responsible for our sensation of control.
We are currently investigating early development of cognition in infants, among others infants' abilities to predict the consequences of their own movement. This work is done in collaboration with the Elsass Institute


Fields of interest

  • Consciousness and movements
  • Movement awareness
  • Sensory motor illusions
  • Agency
  • Body awareness and ownership
  • Early cognitive development
  • Embodied cognition
  • Motor control
  • Neural control of movements and actions
  • Sensorimotor integration
  • Theories of neuroscience
  • Intentionality and volitional control of movements

Key Publications

Are sensorimotor experiences the key for successful early intervention in infants with congenital brain lesion?
Ritterband-Rosenbaum, A., Justiniano, M. D., Nielsen, J. B. & Christensen, M. S., 12 feb. 2019, I : Infant Behavior and Development. 54, s. 133-139 7 s.

Sense of agency for movements
Christensen, M. S. & Grünbaum, T., 2018, I : Consciousness and Cognition. 65, s. 27-47 21 s.

Modulation of task-related cortical connectivity in the acute and subacute phase after stroke
Larsen, L. H., Zibrandtsen, I. C., Wienecke, T., Kjær, T. W., Langberg, H., Nielsen, J. B. & Christensen, M. S., 2018, I : European Journal of Neuroscience. 47, 8, s. 1024-1032 9 s.

Sense of moving: Moving closer to the movement
Christensen, M. S. & Grünbaum, T., 2017, Sensation of Movement. Grünbaum, T. & Christensen, M. S. (red.). Abingdon, UK: Routledge, s. 64-84 21 s. (Current Issues in Consciousness Research).

Sense of agency is related to gamma band coupling in an inferior parietal-preSMA circuitry
Ritterband-Rosenbaum, A., Nielsen, J. B. & Christensen, M. S., 2014, I : Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 8, 10 s., 510.

Body schema, illusions of movement and body perception
Christensen, M. S., 2012, Routledge Handbook of Motor Control and Motor Learning. Gollhofer, A., Taube, W. & Nielsen, J. B. (red.). London: Routledge, s. 283-303 21 s.

Illusory sensation of movement induced by repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation
Christensen, M. S., Lundbye-Jensen, J., Grey, M. J., Vejlby, A. D., Belhage, B., Nielsen, J. B., Christensen, M. S., Jensen, J. L., Grey, M. J., Vejlby, A. D., Belhage, B. & Holm-Nielsen, J. B., 2010, I : P L o S One. 5, 10, s. e13301

Action-blindsight in healthy subjects after transcranial magnetic stimulation
Christensen, M. S., Kristiansen, L., Rowe, J. B. & Nielsen, J. B., 2008, I : Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America. 105, 4, s. 1353-1357 5 s.

Premotor cortex modulates somatosensory cortex during voluntary movements without proprioceptive feedback
Christensen, M. S., Lundbye-Jensen, J., Geertsen, S. S., Petersen, T. H., Paulson, O. B. & Nielsen, J. B., 1 apr. 2007, I : Nature Neuroscience. 10, 4, s. 417-9 3 s.

Watching your foot move - an fMRI study of visuomotor interactions during foot movement
Christensen, M. S., Jensen, J. L., Petersen, N., Geertsen, S. S., Paulson, O. B. & Nielsen, J. B., 2007, I : Cerebral Cortex. 17, 8, s. 1906-1917 12 s.