The Performance and Exercise Psychophysiology (PEP) Lab’s general objective is to enhance motor performance and health. More specifically, they seek to uncover the bases of motor learning and performance, as well as how to capitalize on these bases in order to enhance learning and performance. Additionally, they strive to understand why people choose and, more often, don’t choose to engage in physical activity. The Lab currently employs psychophysiological (e.g., electroencephalography) and behavioral (e.g., accelerometry) techniques to address their research aims.

Matt Miller, Ph.D. serves at the director of the PEP Lab. His Ph.D. students help conduct studies on how reinforcement learning principles may explain motor skill acquisition and exercise behavior.


Basic and Applied Motor Learning and Performance

This work iexamines what motor skill practice conditions enhance learning and the bases of the enhancements. For example, our work suggests that practicing a motor skill with the expectation of teaching it improved motor learning, and we have investigated the neural underpinnings of this benefit.

Psychological Determinants of Physical Activity, Exercise, and Sedentary Behavior

This work examines the psychological mechanisms leading individuals to engage (or, is more often the case, not engage) in physical activity, exercise, and sedentary behavior. Currently, we are examining the neural correlates of exercise attitudes, and whether the extent to which individuals pursue rewards and the satisfaction they obtain when consuming the rewards is related to the energetic cost of the rewards.

External Partners

More about the Lab

Director: Matt Miller, Ph.D.

Research Focus: Uncover the bases of motor learning and performance to enhance learning and performance.

When I’m not in the lab, I enjoy spending time with my wife and kids running/hiking/enjoying the great outdoors, watching sports, and reading for pleasure.

Doctoral Student Alumni


Dissertation Title: “I made it! Effects of perceptions of success and enhanced expectancies on motor learning and its underlying mechanisms”

Initial Placement: Assistant Professor, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA


Dissertation Title: “The effects of implicit learning, practicing with the expectation of teaching, and anxiety training on moto performance under psychological pressure”

Initial Placement:  Post-doctoral Researcher, Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, VA


Dissertation Title: “What moves you? The role of enhanced expectations and reward processing in motor performance and learning”

Initial Placement: Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology, Boise State University, Boise, ID


Dissertation Title: “Distinguishing the effects of verbalizing a skill on performance and learning in novice and skilled populations”

Initial Placement: USA Team Handball


Dissertation Title: “The effects of practicing a motor skill with the expectation of teaching it: Benefits to skill learning, potential underlying mechanisms, and effects on skill performance under psychological pressure”

Initial Placement: Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology, Coastal Carolina University


Dissertation Title: “Trait mindfulness as a moderator of green exercise and attention.”

Initial Placement: Assistant Clinical Professor, School of Kinesiology, Auburn University.


Dissertation Title: “Red or blue: Does the choice of hue influence the way you learn the things you do? A mechanistic account of the effects of incidental choice on motor learning”

Initial Placement: Assistant Swimming and Diving Coach as well as Adjunct Professor (Kinesiology), Auburn University


Dissertation Title: “The influence of dispositional mindfulness on state anxiety and motor choking under pressure”

Initial Placement: Post-doctoral researcher, Tufts University/U.S. Army’s Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center

Bacelar, M. F. B., Parma, J. O., Murrah, W. M., & Miller, M. W. (in press). Meta-analyzing enhanced expectancies on motor learning: positive effects but methodological concerns. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology.

Parma, J. O., Bacelar, M. F. B., Cabral, D. A. R., Recker, R. S., Orsholits, D., Renaud, O., Sander, D., Krigolson, O. E., & Miller, M. W., Cheval, B., & Boisgontier, M. P. (2023). Relationship between reward-related brain activity and opportunities to sit. Cortex, 167, 197 - 217. 

Cabral, D. A. R.
, Daou, M., Bacelar, M. F. B., Parma, J. O., & Miller, M. W. (2023). Does learning a skill with the expectation of teaching it impair the skill’s execution under psychological pressure if the skill is learned with analogy instructions? Psychology of Sport and Exercise,66, 102323.

Parma, J. O., Bacelar, M. F. B., Cabral, D. A. R., Lohse, K. R., Hodges, N. J., & Miller, M. W. (2023). That looks easy! Evidence against the benefits of an easier criterion of success for enhancing motor learning. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 66, 102394.

Bacelar, M. F. B., Parma, J. O., Cabral, D. A., Daou, M., Lohse, K. R., & Miller, M. W. (2022). Dissociating the contributions of motivational and information processing factors to the self-controlled feedback learning benefit. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 59, 102119.

Cabral, D. A. R., Wilson, A. E., & Miller, M. W. (2022). The effect of implicit learning on motor performance under psychological pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology,11(3), 245-263.

Cheval, B., Cabral, D. A. R., Daou, M., Bacelar, M. F. B., Parma, J. O., Forestier, C., Orsholits, D., Maltagliati, S., Sander, D., Boisgontier, M. P., & Miller, M. W. (2021). Inhibitory control elicited by physical activity and inactivity stimuli: An EEG study. Motivation Science, 7(4), 386–399.

Miller, M. W., Bacelar, M. F. B., Feiss, R. S., Daou, M., Alderman, B. L., & Ekkekakis, P. (2020). P3b as an electroencephalographic index of automatic associations of exercise-related images. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 158, 114–122.

Cheval, B., Daou, M., Cabral, D. A. R., Bacelar, M. F. B., Parma, J. O., Forestier, C., Orsholits, D., Sander, D., Boisgontier, M. P., & Miller, M. W. (2020). Higher inhibitory control is required to escape the innate attraction to effort minimization. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 51, 101781.

Bacelar, M. F. B., Lohse, K. R., & Miller, M. W. (2020). The effect of rewards and punishments on learning action selection and execution components of a motor skill. Journal of Motor Learning and Development, 8, 475–496.

Lohse, K. R., Miller, M. W., Daou, M., Valerius, W., & Jones, M. (2020). Dissociating the contributions of reward-prediction errors to trial-level adaptation and long-term learning. Biological Psychology, 149.

Cheval, B., Boisgontier, M. P., Bacelar, M. F. B., Feiss, R., & Miller, M. W. (2019). Opportunities to sit and stand trigger equivalent reward-related brain activity. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 141, 9 – 17.

Daou, M., Lohse, K. R., & Miller, M. W. (2018). Does practicing a skill with the expectation of teaching alter motor preparatory cortical dynamics? International Journal of Psychophysiology, 127, 1-10.

Daou, M., Rhoads, J. A. , Jacobs, T., Lohse, K. R., & Miller, M. W. (2019). Does limiting pre-movement time during practice eliminate the benefit of practicing while expecting to teach?  Human Movement Science, 64, 153–163.

Daou, M., Sassi, J. M., Miller, M. W., & Gonzalez, A. M. (2019). Effects of a multi-ingredient energy supplement on cognitive performance and cerebral-cortical activation. Journal of Dietary Supplements, 16(2), 129-140.

Rhoads, J. A., Daou, M., Lohse, K. R., & Miller, M. W.  (2019). The effects of expecting to teach and actually teaching on motor learning. Journal of Motor Learning and Development, 7(1), 84–105.

Daou, M., Hutchison, Z., Bacelar, M., Rhoads, J. A., Lohse, K. R., & Miller, M. W. (2019). Learning a skill with the expectation of teaching it impairs the skill’s execution under psychological pressure. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 25(2), 219–229.

Grand, K. F., Daou, M., Lohse, K. R., & Miller, M. W. (2017). Investigating the mechanisms of an incidental choice on motor learning. Journal of Motor Learning and Development, 5(2), 207–226.

Daou, M., Lohse, K. R., & Miller, M. W. (2017). To take the stairs or not to take the stairs? Employing the Reflective-Impulsive Model to predict spontaneous physical activity. Sports, 5(4), 75.  https//

Daou, M., Lohse, K. R., & Miller, M. W. (2016).  Expecting to teach enhances motor learning and information processing during practice. Human Movement Science, 49, 336-345.

Meadows, C. C., Gable, P. A., Lohse, K. R., & Miller, M. W. (2016). Motivation and motor cortical activity can independently affect motor performance. Neuroscience, 339, 174-179.

Iso-Ahola, S. E., Dotson, C. O., Clark, L. L., Jagodinksy, A. E., Smallwood, L. L., Wilburn, C., Weimar, W. H., & Miller, M. W. (2016). Improving performance by anchoring movement and “nerves”. Human Movement Science, 49, 239-247.

Iso-Ahola, S. E., & Miller, M. W. Contextual priming of a complex behavior: Exercise. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice, 3(3), 258-269.

Meadows, C. C., Gable, P. A., Lohse, K. L., & Miller, M. W. (2016). The effects of reward magnitude on reward processing: An averaged and single trial event-related potential study. Biological Psychology, 118, 154-160.

Daou, M., Buchanan, T. L., Lindsey, K. R., Lohse, K. R., & Miller, M. W. (2016). Expecting to teach enhances learning: Evidence from a motor learning paradigmJournal of Motor Learning and Development, 4, 197-207.

Leiker, A. M., Miller, M. W., Brewer, L. E., Nelson, M., & Lohse, K. R. (2016). The relationship between engagement and neurophysiological measures of attention in motion-controlled video games: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Medical Internet Research: Serious Games, 4(1), e4.

Grand, K. F., Bruzi, A. T., Dyke, F. B., Godwin, M. M., Leiker, A. M., Thompson, A. G., Buchanan, T. B., & Miller, M. W. (2015). Why self-controlled feedback enhances motor learning: Answers from electroencephalography and indices of motivation. Human Movement Science, 43, 23-32.

Dyke, F. B., Leiker, A. M., Grand, K. F., Godwin, M. M., Thompson, A. G., Rietschel, J. C., McDonald, C. G., & Miller, M. W.  (2015). The efficacy of auditory probes in indexing cognitive workload is dependent on stimulus complexity.  International Journal of Psychophysiology, 95(1), 56-62.

Dyke, F., Godwin, M. M., Goel, P., Rehm, J., Rietschel, J. C., Hunt, C. A., & Miller, M. W. (2014).  Cerebral cortical activity  associated with nonexperts’ most accurate motor performance. Human Movement Science, 37, 21-31.

Miller, M. W., Pressaco, A., Groman, L. J., Bur, S., Rietschel, J. C., Gentili, R. J., McDonald, C. G., Iso-Ahola, S. E., & Hatfield, B. D. (2014). The effects of team environment on cerebral cortical processes and attentional reserve. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 3(1), 61-74.

Palmer, K. K., Miller, M. W., & Robinson, L. E. (2013).  Acute exercise enhances preschoolers’ ability to ability to sustain attention. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 35(4), 433-437.

Miller, M. W., Groman, L. J., Rietschel, J. C., McDonald, C. G., Iso-Ahola, S. E., & Hatfield, B. D. (2013).  The effects of team environment on attentional resource allocation and cognitive workload. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 2(2), 77-89.

Rietschel, J. C., Miller, M. W., Gentili, R. J., Goodman, R. N., McDonald, C. G., & Hatfield, B. D. (2012).  Cerebral-cortical networking and activation increase as a function of task difficulty. Biological Psychology, 90(2), 127-133.

Miller, M. W., Rietschel, J. C., McDonald, C. G., & Hatfield, B. D. (2011).  A novel approach to the physiological measurement of mental workload. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 80(1), 75-78.

  • Much of our data is available under the same ResearchGate profile as our publications. If you are interested in data that is not on ResearchGate, please email Matt Miller, Ph.D..
  • Most of our newer work (pre-registrations, experimental materials, data, and pre-prints) is available on Open Science Framework..
  • Our older pre-registrations can be found on
Last updated: 10/25/2023