Dr Rebekah Blakemore

BSc, MPhEd, PhD (Otago)

Movement Neuroscientist

New Zealand Brain Research Institute, Christchurch

Lecturer

School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Otago, Dunedin

Phone: 03 479 8387

As a movement neuroscientist, my research explores the neural processes underpinning human movement. I have three interrelated research themes to examine motor function in healthy and movement disorder populations:

  • Neural mechanisms underlying the preparation, initiation, and control of voluntary movement, primarily upper limb motor control
  • Interactions between the emotion and motor systems, especially stress-induced modulation of motor behaviour
  • Conceptions of action as being voluntary/intentional or involuntary/unintentional, and modulation of the motor system outside of conscious awareness.

My research is interdisciplinary drawing on frameworks from movement and affective neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, and neurology. I use a multi-methodological approach, and have expertise in event-related potentials (EEG), electromyography (EMG), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), movement kinematics, and psychophysiology. I have a specialist clinical interest in Parkinson’s disease and functional neurological symptom disorder (conversion disorder).

 

Following my BSc (University of Auckland), I completed a MPhEd (2006, Distinction) and PhD (2011) in Neuroscience (University of Otago). I then undertook a 3-year Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, in Prof Patrik Vullieumier’s lab, where I combined Movement and Affective Neuroscience to investigate emotion-motor interactions using fMRI. This worked was funded by a Marie Curie COFUND Fellowship, and the European Union FP7 programme. I returned to New Zealand in 2015 via the Neurological Foundation Repatriation Fellowship, where I worked as a Research Fellow in the Department of Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch and the New Zealand Brain Research Institute (2015-2019), funded by the Neurological Foundation of New Zealand and the University of Otago. I am now based back in Dunedin as a Lecturer in the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences, but I have an ongoing research program and continued collaboration with the Parkinson’s group at the New Zealand Brain Research Institute.

Publications

Provided on request for non-commercial personal use by researchers.

2021

Download Higher perceived stress and exacerbated motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease during the COVID-19 lockdown in New Zealand.
Blakemore, R. L., Pascoe, M. J., Horne, K. L., Livingston, L., Young, B. N., Elias, B., Goulden, M., Grenfell, S., Myall, D. J., Pitcher, T. L., Dalrymple-Alford, J. C., Le Heron, C. J., Anderson, T. J., MacAskill, M. R. (2021). Higher perceived stress and exacerbated motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease during the COVID-19 lockdown in New Zealand. The New Zealand Medical Journal, 134, 44-51.

2019

Download Volitional suppression of parkinsonian resting tremor.
Blakemore, R. L., MacAskill, M. R., Myall, D. J., Anderson, T. J. (2019). Volitional suppression of parkinsonian resting tremor. Movement Disorders Clinical Practice, 6, 470-478. 10.1002/mdc3.12801

2018

Bègue, I., Blakemore, R.L., Klug, J., Cojan, Y., Galli, S., Berney, A., Aybek, S., Vuilleumier, P. (2018). Metacognition of visuomotor decisions in conversion disorder. Neuropsychologia, 114, 251-265. 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2018.04.018
Download Stress-evoking emotional stimuli exaggerate deficits in motor function in Parkinson’s disease.
Blakemore, R. L., MacAskill, M. R., Shoorangiz, R., Anderson, T. J. (2018). Stress-evoking emotional stimuli exaggerate deficits in motor function in Parkinson’s disease. Neuropsychologia, 112, 66-76. 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2018.03.006
Brownjohn, P.W., Blakemore, R.L., Fox, J.A., Shemmell, J. (2018). The effect of paired muscle stimulation on preparation for movement. Journal of Motor Behavior. 10.1080/00222895.2018.1473329

2017

Download An emotional call to action: integrating affective neuroscience in models of motor control.
Blakemore, R. L., Vuilleumier, P. (2017). An emotional call to action: integrating affective neuroscience in models of motor control. Emotion Review, 9(4), 299-309. 10.1177/1754073916670020
Download How emotion context modulates unconscious goal activation during motor force exertion.
Blakemore, R.L., Neveu, R., Vuilleumier, P. (2017). How emotion context modulates unconscious goal activation during motor force exertion. Neuroimage, 146, 904-917. 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.11.002

2016

Download Aversive stimuli exacerbate defensive motor behaviour in motor conversion disorder.
Blakemore, R. L., Sinanaj, I., Galli, S., Aybek, S., Vuilleumier, P. (2016). Aversive stimuli exacerbate defensive motor behaviour in motor conversion disorder. Neuropsychologia, 93, 229-241. 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2016.11.005
Download Negative emotions facilitate isometric force through activation of prefrontal cortex and periaqueductal gray.
Blakemore, R.L., Rieger, S.W., Vuilleumier, P. (2016). Negative emotions facilitate isometric force through activation of prefrontal cortex and periaqueductal gray. Neuroimage, 124, 627-640. 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.09.029

2015

Download Deficit in late-stage contingent negative variation provides evidence for disrupted movement preparation in patients with conversion paresis.
Blakemore, RL, Hyland, BI, Hammond-Tooke, GD, Anson, JG (2015). Deficit in late-stage contingent negative variation provides evidence for disrupted movement preparation in patients with conversion paresis. Biological Psychology, 109, 73-85. 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2015.04.009

2013

Download Distinct Modulation of Event-Related Potentials during Motor Preparation in Patients with Motor Conversion Disorder
Blakemore, R.L., Hyland, B.I., Hammond-Tooke, G.D., Anson, J.G. (2013). Distinct Modulation of Event-Related Potentials during Motor Preparation in Patients with Motor Conversion Disorder PLoS ONE, 8(4), e62539. 10.1371/journal.pone.0062539

2010

Anson, J.G., Burgess, R., & Scott, R.L. (2010). Vision and movement planning, Chapter 4, 59-78, p. In D. Elliott and M Khan (Eds.), Vision and Goal-Directed Movement: Neurobehavioral Perspectives. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics..

2009

Download Neural correlates of motor conversion disorder
Scott, R.L., & Anson, J.G. (2009). Neural correlates of motor conversion disorder Motor Control, 13(2), 161-184.

Abstracts and Short papers

2018

Blakemore, R.L., MacAskill, M.R., Myall, D.J., Anderson, T.J. (2018). Parkinsonian tremor can be diminished by willpower. Proceedings of the International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research, 36, 4.

2017

Download Author Reply: Emotion in action –from theories and boxologies to brain circuits.
Blakemore, R. L., Vuilleumier, P. (2017). Author Reply: Emotion in action –from theories and boxologies to brain circuits. Emotion Review, 9(4), 356-357. 10.1177/1754073917694243