Charlotte Le Mouel

PhD student

email: charlotte.le-mouel[at]


Traditional theories of learning in animals focus on the role of plasticity in the nervous system, ignoring the crucial role of the adaptation of the body’s mechanical properties in motor skill learning. I have therefore developed a new theory of sensorimotor learning, whereby learning initiated by the nervous system is transferred to the body’s mechanical properties.

My first project concerns the adjustment of the position of the center of mass (Le Mouel and Brette 2017). We have shown that the standing posture is adjusted in view of providing impetus to movement. Moreover, when skilled movement is initiated, the position of the center of mass is initially shifted so as to use one’s own weight to provide torque to the movement. This mobility of the center of mass is dependent on development and skill learning, and is impaired with aging.

I am currently working on modeling how the stiffness of the standing posture impacts the body’s mechanical response to a perturbation, and have developed a model whereby the nervous system, by observing the body’s response, learns to adjust the stiffness of the standing posture so as to improve balance.