Skip to main content

Professor Richard Carson

Photo of Professor Richard Carson




Room 03.507, David Keir Building
School of Psychology
Queen's University Belfast
Belfast, BT7 1NN
Northern Ireland, UK


+44 (0)28 9097 6528

Raised in Northern Ireland, I completed a B.Sc. in Psychology at the University of Bristol in 1985. My postgraduate research was conducted at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada where I was awarded a M.Sc. in 1988 and a Ph.D. in 1993. Subsequently I held a number of research fellowships at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia before returning to Northern Ireland as Professor of Psychology at Queen’s in 2006.


Member of the EPIC (Emotion, Perception, and Individual Characteristics) Research Cluster

My research is concerned with understanding how people move and the factors that limit and enhance this capacity to move. The focus is upon the laws and principles that govern the coordination of human movement. I am concerned not only with understanding the basic question of how movement is controlled, but also with the alterations in coordination which occur throughout the lifespan, and in response to acquired disorders of movement.

  • Human motor control
  • Sensorimotor coordination
  • Movement control in the elderly
  • Rehabilitation of movement control in stroke survivors
  • Neural adaptations to training

Selected Recent Publications

Carson, R.G., Kennedy, N.C., Linden, M.A., & Britton, L. (2008). Muscle-specific variations in use-dependent crossed-facilitation of corticospinal pathways mediated by transcranial direct current (DC) stimulation. Neuroscience Letters, 441, 153-157.

Barker, R.N., Brauer, S.G., & Carson, R.G. (2008). Training of reaching in stroke survivors with severe and chronic upper limb paresis: a randomized clinical trial. Stroke, 39(6), 1800-1807.

Carson, R.G., Smethurst, C.J., Oytam, Y. & de Rugy, A. (2007). Postural context alters the stability of bimanual coordination by modulating the crossed excitability of corticospinal pathways. Journal of Neurophysiology, 97, 2016-2023.

Carson, R.G. (2006). Changes in muscle coordination with training. Journal of Applied Physiology, 101(5), 1506-1513.

Carson, R.G. (2005). Neural pathways mediating bilateral interactions between the upper limbs. Brain Research Reviews, 49. 641-662.

Shemmell, J., Forner, M., Tresilian, J.R., Riek, S., Barry, B.K. & Carson, R.G. (2005). Neuromuscular adaptation during skill acquisition on a two degree-of-freedom target acquisition task: isometric torque production. Journal of Neurophysiology, 94 (5), 3046-3057. Published Online: 8th June 2005

Carson, R.G., Welsh T.N., & Pamblanco-Valero, M-Á. (2005). Visual feedback alters the variations in corticospinal excitability that arise from rhythmic movements of the opposite limb. Experimental Brain Research, 161, 325-334.

Mon-Williams, M., Tresilian, J.R., Bell, V.E., Coppard, V.L., Nixdorf, M., & Carson, R.G. (2005). The preparation of reach to grasp movements in children with Developmental Coordination Disorder. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 58A, 1249-1263.

Carson, R.G., Riek, S., Mackey, D.C., Meichenbaum, D.P., Willms, K., Forner, M., & Byblow, W.D. (2004). Excitability changes in human forearm corticospinal projections and spinal reflex pathways during rhythmic voluntary movement of the opposite limb. Journal of Physiology, 560, 929-940.

Barry, B. & Carson, R.G. (2004). The consequences of resistance training for movement control in older adults. Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, 59, M730-M754.

Carson, R.G. & Kelso, J.A.S. (2004). Governing coordination: Behavioural principles and neural correlates. Experimental Brain Research, 154, 267–274.

Carson, R.G., Riek, S., & Shahbazpour, N. (2002). Central and peripheral mediation of human force sensation following eccentric or concentric contractions. Journal of Physiology (Lond), 539, 913-925